The Membrane Revolution

The use of membrane technology for drinking water production, wastewater treatment and reuse is not new—it has been around for decades. So why the recent years’ spotlight on this technology?

The answer is simple: the drastic reduction in the costs to refurbish or construct and operate membrane water and wastewater treatment facilities.

In my line of work, I frequently receive press releases announcing new water and wastewater plant openings or retrofits implementing membrane technologies. Moreover, the emphasis of these success stories has changed from groundbreaking membrane technology to a cost-effective, solution-based approach for various applications.

Reduction in cost is not the only factor. In recent years, membrane manufacturers have put a lot of research into improving membrane system efficiency and developing systems with a smaller footprint in order to fit a wide range and size of applications. As a result, membrane technology is high on the radar for plant managers and engineers, and dynamic growth in membrane technology sales reflects the industry’s interest.

According to the online report “RO/UF/MF World Markets,” released by the McIlvaine Co., sales of filtration membranes and equipment is expected to reach $11 billion by 2011, with reverse osmosis membranes representing 45% of the total sales; ultrafiltration and nanofiltration accounting for 20% of the market; and microfiltration accounting for 30% of the market.

Consumer and industrial demand for clean water, along with the ability of membrane technology to deliver alternative sources of safe drinking water to people all over the world, will continue to drive industry interest in this technology.

In an effort to provide you with key issues and applications of membrane technology, Water & Wastes Digest is pleased to bring you the Fall 2007 edition of Membrane Technology. Featuring selected technical and special focus articles, we trust Membrane Technology will offer insight to the rapidly expanding membrane market.

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