Jun 13, 2011

World Demand for Membranes to Reach $19.3 Billion in 2015

The United States and China are expected to account for 46% of market gains between 2010 and 2015

Global demand for membranes is projected to increase a healthy 9% annually and reach $19.3 billion in 2015. The countries that will see the fastest growth include the BRIC countries and others with large, developing industrial bases and stressed local water resources.

Combined, the United States and China are expected to account for 46% of the market gains between 2010 and 2015. These and other trends are presented in World Membrane Separation Technologies, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

North America, the largest regional market, accounted for one-third of global membrane sales in 2010 and will advance a strong 8.3% annually through 2015. Gains in the dominant U.S. market will be aided by the ongoing development of improved membranes and related systems to accommodate newer water quality regulations and the use of low-quality water in water-stressed regions.

Western Europe and Japan are similar to the U.S. in the maturity of their water infrastructures, the type of regulatory environment and the level of technological sophistication in manufacturing. This maturity will contribute to growth in membrane demand well below the global average. Still, the increased emphasis on conservation through water recycling will boost sales.

In developing countries, gains will be based on the continued growth of water-intensive industries, increased need to tap brackish or otherwise poor-quality water resources, and rising investment in modernizing water and waste infrastructure.

However, in many of the least developed countries—especially in Africa and parts of South Asia—growth will be more limited due to lack of adequate funding and local corruption that impedes progress. Much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Caribbean have invested heavily in seawater and brackish water treatment to ensure a sufficient supply of water for drinking, agriculture and industry use.

Water treatment, the largest market for membranes, will also benefit from expansions or upgrades of water treatment infrastructures and a projected rebound in manufacturing activity in key geographic markets. However, the best opportunities for growth will emerge in the pharmaceutical and medical market, and other smaller markets such as chemical processing and environmental applications, as these industries continue to develop globally and create new uses for membranes.