As the need for processed drinking water continues to rise and governments come down heavily on the use of chemicals for water purification, membrane separation technologies in the water market face abundant opportunities for growth. Market research and consulting firm Persistence Market Research has forecasted that the global membrane separation market will reach US$39.2 billion in 2019 at a 10.8% CAGR from 2013 to 2019. The other segments in the market—industrial and healthcare—will also exhibit growth, albeit not as strong as the water and wastewater segment. The PMR report puts the CAGR of membrane separation in the latter segment at 11.1% between 2013 and 2019.
Though membrane separation is not a new process, it is one that is constantly in a phase of innovation and enhancement over the last five decades. Through the rest of the decade as well, innovation will lead the charge in the global membrane separation market. Here’s a lowdown on the top five trends:
Municipal sector to stimulate growth in the membrane separation market
Municipal councils around the world are responsible for overseeing the supply of clean water to towns and cities. As a result of this, the membrane separation market obtains a sizeable share of revenues from municipal councils. This trend is especially significant in the backdrop of concerns about health and environmental impact of chemical water purification methods. Increased urbanization has spurred a need for an increased supply of clean and potable water. Investments from municipal councils are seen in applications such as desalination and water and wastewater treatment.
Rising interest in water reuse and wastewater treatment fuels the demand of membrane separation market
The Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation by the WHO/UNICEF states that across the world, an estimated 1.8 billion people consume faecally contaminated water. This puts the focus on water purification techniques that are effective without being exorbitant. Membrane separation technologies fit this bill. Besides pressing health concerns, waster scarcity in several parts of the world is forcing governments, municipal councils and citizen bodies alike to switch over to water reuse methods. Membrane separation technologies make it possible to purify wastewater and use it for other purposes such as industrial use, gardening and in bathrooms and so on.
As the regulatory grip tightens, compliance with environmental norms will prompt use of membrane separation technologies
A number of governments already have best practices that govern the efficient and sustainable use of water and wastewater. However, not many of these are actually put in practice. This scenario is gradually changing, and has forced a number of water utilities, municipal councils, industrial and commercial facilities, and residential communities to start implementing these best practices. With regulatory mandates becoming more stringent, adhering to water treatment regulations will no longer be an option. This aspect will likely work greatly in the favor of the membrane separation market as many other chemical-based and energy-intensive water treatment methods are losing ground.
Industrial expansion will create a burning need for quick and efficient water treatment and purification methods
Industries are rapidly moving out of traditional markets and setting up production facilities in developing markets where the lack of enough water treatment facilities can load the ecosystem around industrial areas. Palpable industrialization in developing regions creates a strong need for large-scale water treatment and water purification facilities, which many industrial players prefer to independently set up in-house. This factor will create a rapid demand for membrane separation going forward
Population growth in water-stressed areas puts focus back on recycling and reuse of water
The global population is expanding at a consistent rate. At the same time, the urban-rural growth imbalance has put a massive load on the existing water purification and processing infrastructure in cities. As people continue to move to water-stressed areas for better jobs and livelihoods, investments in water purification systems are inevitable. This inextricable link between population growth and water consumption will augur well for the membrane separation systems and technologies market.
Despite all these growth opportunities, the membrane separation market will likely suffer a setback because of the high operation and installation costs associated with such systems. Companies in this market will have to find a way to balance the cost and returns factor for sustained growth.