Shanghai Showcase: The Rise of China's Domestic Membrane Market

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This year's Aquatech China show in Shanghai saw key announcements from the international membrane suppliers in a bid to establish their pegs in Chinese soil and differentiate themselves from what is becoming a packed domestic market.

One delegate told WWi that there's as many as 800 Chinese membrane manufacturers and suppliers operating in China alone. This has been chiefly driven as a result of China's State Council's 12th Five-Year Plan (FYP) for desalination. In this, it established a higher than expected target of 2.2 – 2.6 million m3/day of online capacity by 2015. This compares to less than 1 million m3/day today.

Further to this, a goal stipulated that 70% of all equipment used in desalination plants should be produced in the country. Despite the large number of companies, one source told WWi that the majority still do not pose a severe threat to established global companies.

The bulk of these companies fail to generate in the region of US$5 million to US$10 million per year and will perhaps win one-off projects, resulting in revenue spikes.

However, over the long-term such revenue will not be enough to truly grow into a multinational company. Many of these smaller companies will simply fade away after five years, he said.

Despite increased domestic competition, CSM launched an ultrafiltration membrane for cathodic electrocoat paint applications, such as new cars or electrical appliances such as fridges.

Meanwhile Dow used the Shanghai show to launch its Seamaxx reverse osmosis (RO) membrane elements.

Lance Johnson, business unit director, RO water, for Dow Water & Process Solutions told WWi that the element had not been designed for typical applications, such as in the Middle East or Spain. Instead they see this being used in Chile for desalination for mining and also Northern Coastal China. Here, he says, the very low temperatures mean you need a higher pressure to "overcome the viscosity and lower temperatures".

One thing is clear: whether the Chinese market will eventually see the door closing to international suppliers, there remains as much excitement as there is caution over Asia's manufacturing powerhouse.


Acciona wins €117 million São Gonçalo wastewater contract in Brazil

The Environment Secretariat of the state of Rio de Janeiro has awarded ACCIONA Agua, in consortium with the Brazilian companies SERVENG and GEL, a €117 million contract to build the wastewater treatment system of São Gonçalo, the second-largest city in the state after Rio de Janeiro.

The new water infrastructure will service a population of 250,000 and involve the environmental recovery of the Alcântara and Mutondo river basins.

The project, which will be built over three years, includes the construction of a complete sanitation system including a wastewater treatment plant with a flow rate of 1.2 m3/second and a pumping station with capacity for 1.99 m3/second, a sewerage network, a drainage system, a pumping station at Yamagata with a flow rate of 1,5 m3/second, eight low-flow pumping stations. This is ACCIONA Agua's second contract in Brazil.


Biwater delivers RO system to North Carolina

Earlier this year, Biwater started engineering and fabrication work to support Dixon Water Treatment Plant improvement works being carried out by Onslow Water and Sewer Authority near the city of Jacksonville, North Carolina in the US. In July Biwater Engineers completed the delivery of a 13,600 m3/day reverse osmosis plant. The advanced system will treat unusable brackish well water and provide drinking water meeting Environmental Protection Agency standards.


Water reuse left out of Aus water strategy

A 30-year strategy has been released for Queenland's water sector yet reusing water for potable drinking purposes was left off, according to the Austalia Water Association (AWA). Called WaterQ, the strategy was releasd by the Department of Energy and Water Supply. The association said it was "disappointed that drinking recycled water was noted as being off the table as a supply option". AWA's Jonathan McKeown said: "It is disappointing that the 30 year Strategy rules it out completely."

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