Global MBR market expected to approach $363 million by 2010

BCC Inc. report says global MBR market is estimated at $216.6 million, and rising at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 10.9%. This market is growing faster than the larger market for advanced wastewater treatment equipment, about 5.5% AAGR, and more rapidly than the market for other types of membrane systems, which are increasing at rates from 8% to 10%, depending, on technology...

NORWALK, CT, Nov. 7, 2005 -- Water treatment has become an area of global concern as individuals, communities, industries, nations, and their national institutions strive for ways to keep this essential resource available and suitable for use. Membrane bioreactor systems (MBRs) have, over the past 10 years, emerged as an effective solution to transforming various wastewaters into high quality effluent suitable for discharge into the environment and increasingly into a reusable product.

According to a soon-to-be-released technical market research report RC-240 "Membrane Bioreactors in the Changing World Water Market" from Business Communications Company (BCC) Inc., the global MBR market is currently valued at an estimated $216.6 million, is rising at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 10.9%, and is expected to approach $363 million in 2010. This market is growing faster than the larger market for advanced wastewater treatment equipment, about 5.5% AAGR, and more rapidly than the market for other types of membrane systems, which are increasing at rates from 8% to 10%, depending, on technology.

Issues of water quality, water quantity and aging/nonexistent infrastructure propel the market for MBRs. Anticipated stricter environmental regulations in the U.S. and overseas are driving sales of MBRs to industry, municipalities, and prompting maritime users to consider MBR technology. The units' ability to produce high-quality reusable effluent, its small footprint, mostly chemical-free operation, ease of retrofit and competitive cost add to the systems' attractiveness. Promising applications also exist in treating landfill leachate, chlorinated solvents in manufacturing wastewaters, wastewater polluted with trace pharmaceutical compounds and for groundwater remediation.

Municipal/domestic wastewater treatment is both the earliest and largest application of MBRs, and will continue to be the primary use for MBR systems. In the U.S., where wastewater treatment infrastructure lags behind population growth, MBRs will be increasingly implemented to make up the shortfall. Where there is limited space to locate treatment plants, MBRs offer the potential to meet the needs of communities. The technology also can provide decentralized small-scale wastewater treatment for remote or isolated communities, campsites, tourist hotels or industries not connected to municipal treatment plants. For emerging nations with vast unsewered areas, MBR technology could provide a decentralized, robust and cost-effective treatment for achieving high quality effluent. MBRs also offer excellent retrofit capability for expanding or upgrading existing conventional wastewater treatment plants.

For industrial applications where stringent discharge standards are in force, MBRs give users extremely high-quality product water suitable for release into the environment to a publicly owned treatment plant or for recycling within the industrial plant's processes. In-plant recycling can be especially beneficial for industries competing with municipal, agricultural, or other, more essential, industrial users to purchase fresh water. These various end users also may compete for effluent discharge permits.

Escalating water costs due to dwindling supplies for communities and businesses also drive the growing acceptance of MBRs. Arid regions in North America and abroad already are plagued with water shortages that make water reuse attractive, sometimes essential, to maintaining sustainability, especially where population growth is booming. In some cases, treated water can be applied to recharging groundwater to halt saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers, abate subsidence in areas sinking due to over pumping groundwater, and support aquifer storage and recovery.

As MBR technology sees rising demand in North America and around the globe, both the number of installations and the capacity of installed plants are increasing dramatically. The most optimistic industry estimates suggest that up to 1,000 new MBR plants will be built annually during the survey period. The size of constructed plants has grown from facilities treating hundreds to thousands of gallons of wastewater per day to those treating tens of millions of gallons per day in just a few years. However, the most common capacity for current MBR installations ranges, in the 50,000-gallon-per-day to 500,000-gallon-per-day systems.

Further improvements are expected to enhance the systems' cost effectiveness and public acceptance, increasing their role in wastewater treatment worldwide.

Additional details are available in the BCC Inc. report, RC-240 Membrane Bioreactors in the Changing World Water Market. This includes:
• Analysis of the membrane and biological components of MBRs
• Examination of system configurations and typical MBR performance
• Cost analyses and system applications
• Examination of companies active in the market, market share and industry structure
• Quantitative evaluations for the major market segments, both historically and with forecasts to 2010
• Identification of the global scope of the MBR market within four major geographical regions with information on regional economics, water needs, MBR experience and proposed projects.

Business Communications Company Inc. (www.bccresearch.com) is based in Norwalk, Conn.

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