It’s good to be in the membrane industry, even in this economy.
The industry is growing at a rapid pace. A study published in April by The Freedonia Group, Inc., based out of Cleveland, predicted that global demand for membranes will exceed $15 billion in 2012, an increase of 8.6%.
Reasons for this prediction are wide and varied. There is increased attention being given to disposal of industrial waste and food and beverage regulations. Apparent in the southwestern U.S. and in many parts of the world is a gaping lack of quality potable water, and as a result, residents of these areas must rely on poor-quality surface water and brackish water. Membranes can be a big part of the solutions to these problems.
Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes. As the membrane industry grows globally, it must keep up with all the world’s needs. There are various types of water that people in Asia, Africa and the Middle East have to rely on for potable water and thus, membrane technology must adapt. True to form, the membrane industry has responded with cleaner, more efficient polymeric membranes and most recently, ceramic membranes. Still in the early stages of pilot studies and general acceptance in the U.S., these membranes have great abilities to treat a wide range of water qualities—including surface water and reclaimed water—and have the potential to last 15 to 20 years. (See page 18 for more on Membrane Technology’s coverage of ceramic membranes.)
The need for quality water keeps growing, for certain, and the membrane industry keeps growing and producing innovative solutions. It would seem these two factors could only equal a good thing. I’m convinced that if the membrane industry keeps being innovative and keeps the technology as low-cost and energy-efficient as possible, great things can happen.
In 2010, Membrane Technology will be published three times, and will continue to offer technical articles and case studies that offer insight to the rapidly expanding membrane market. We would like to welcome readers’ feedback; please e-mail me at [email protected] and tell me what other membrane content you would like to see within these pages.