Membrane industry to double by 2020

Lux Research adds that this growth is due to advances in membrane technologies such as fouling resistance, self-cleaning functionality, and improved chemical tolerance, opening the industry to newer applications such as industrial water treatment. Membrane-based technology is currently displacing traditional processes – including chemical, biological, or elementary physical separation – in treatment of industrial water in sectors such as food and beverages, electronics and pharmaceuticals, the report claims.

“Newer technology developments over the last several decades are enabling membranes to move into key growth sectors within the hydrocosm,” said Reka Sumangali, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the Understanding the Hype in Advanced Membrane Technologies report. “While some markets may still be inaccessible due to performance and production barriers, the desalination market will continue to be strong, growing to US$1.3 billion in 2020, from US$720 million in 2010.”

The report suggested that technologies within the industry would benefit from being easy to use within the current infrastructure. Diverse innovations like multi-functional membranes with catalytic materials or high-strength ceramic membranes could also be successful. One key technology is biomimetic membranes, which attempt to apply the efficiencies of plant and animal cell membranes in the industrial arena.