Study: U.S. membrane market to reach $6.9 billion by 2009

According to a soon-to-be-released updated report from BCC Inc., the combined U.S. market for membranes used in separations and non-separating applications is currently estimated at $5 billion and, rising at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 6.6% -- and is expected to reach $6.9 billion in 2009...

NORWALK, CT, Feb. 23, 2005 -- According to a soon-to-be-released updated report, the combined U.S. market for membranes used in separations and non-separating applications is currently estimated at $5 billion and, rising at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 6.6% -- and is expected to reach $6.9 billion in 2009.

The report, "RC-201N Membrane Technology: A New Era," is from Business Communications Company (BCC) Inc., a business research firm from the Boston area. It will be published in April.

BCC Inc. points out that membranes are essential to a range of applications from potable water, process water and wastewater treatment to power generation, tissue repair and other therapeutic procedures, protective garment making, pharmaceuticals production, food and beverage processing and packaging, and separations needed for manufacturing chemicals, cars, electronics, fuels and a range of other products. Primary drivers for membrane sales include consumer demand for higher quality products, increased regulatory pressures, deteriorating natural resources, and the need for environmental and economic sustainability.

Sales of membranes used in liquid and gas separations are valued at $2.2 billion and should expand at AAGR of 9.9% through 2009. The market for non-separating membranes used in drug delivery, guided tissue regeneration, batteries, food packaging and high performance textiles is currently estimated as $2.8 billion and is expected to grow at an AAGR of 3.8% through the forecast period.

The U.S. consumes about 40% of all membranes produced worldwide. Water and wastewater treatment accounts for about half of the demand for membranes used in separating applications. RO and NF are experiencing double digit growth rates primarily an expression of the booming market in desalination, but also a reflection of increased application in process water treatment and an interest in reclaiming "used" water.

MF and UF also are in demand for treating potable and process water, but the most rapid growth in this sector is wastewater treatment with membrane bioreactors. Recording even stronger MF and UF growth is the biotech and pharmaceuticals sector, which is benefiting from an upsurge in genomic and proteomic research and the development of new biopharmaceuticals. Steady UF growth is also found in hemodialysis, an application with a large and increasing patient base.

In other separation processes, membranes for many applications have yet to reach full market potential, but are the focus of very active commercialization efforts. Development of robust new membranes and membrane reactor processes are opening up a number of new gas application areas and promising new functions in catalytic membrane reactors. Very high growth rates also are expected for membranes used in fuel cell applications, although the market is still quite small.

Because of their diversity, sales of membranes for non-separating applications are growing at vastly different rates according to sector. Although the markets are not the largest, the highest growth rates are found in food packaging applications and the manufacture of batteries.

For more information on this report or BCC Inc., see the company's website: www.bccresearch.com.

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