Use of novel membrane materials key to development of RO, UF and MF technologies

With ever-increasing demand for clean water among industries as well as the general population, there's a trend toward greater use of membrane filtration technologies. As a specification-driven process, they're able to provide water of much higher quality for municipal drinking and wastewater or industrial specifications for water reuse. Membrane technology cost reductions also have served to promote technology as a cost-effective water treatment alternative, according to Frost & Sullivan...

PALO ALTO, CA, Oct. 27, 2006 -- With the current supply pool unlikely to sustain the ever-increasing demand for clean water among industries as well as the general population, there is a growing trend toward the use of membrane filtration technologies for water purification. As a specification-driven process, membrane filtration is able to provide water of much higher quality, be it to meet municipal drinking and wastewater quality requirements, or industrial specifications for water reuse. Moreover, dramatic reductions in the prices of membrane water treatment technologies in the last few years have further served to promote technology as a cost-effective alternative to water treatment, according to new information from Frost & Sullivan included in "Reverse Osmosis, Ultrafiltration and Microfiltration Technologies."

"The most widely used membrane technologies for water purification around the world are reverse osmosis (RO), ultrafiltration (UF), and microfiltration (MF)," notes Technical Insights Research Analyst, Vijay Shankar Murthy. "Among them, RO is emerging as the dominant technology for water purification, especially in desalination plants, while UF is the popular choice for pretreatment of wastewater before it goes into the RO plants. MF finds particular application in the treatment of solutions containing minute particles."

With respect to application, RO, UF, and MF technologies find predominant use in the desalination of brackish water, processing of waste from the chemical, pharmaceutical, and other process industries. Off late, the uptake of these technologies has significantly increased in the water/wastewater treatment markets and also the food and beverage industry, in particular the dairy industry. Furthermore, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries will also see a spurt in the use of UF and MF technologies for their product processing, and UF technology will specifically benefit from the trend within the pharmaceutical industry to move away from traditional pharmaceutical processes toward bio technology.

Competing technologies, however, represent a credible challenge to RO, UF and MF technologies, threatening to slow down adoption rates. UF is one of many techniques used in the separation and purification of water and in the biopharmaceutical industry, it competes against several other technologies including membrane absorbers. Membrane absorbers is a new technology based on the same principle as chromatography and promises to be faster than UF.

"In addition to competing technologies being major hindrances to the acceptance of conventional membrane separation techniques, other significant challenges for RO, UF, and MF technologies include membrane efficiency and energy requirements," says Murthy. "Technology developers will hence need to urgently work at improving the efficiencies of these processes in order to negate the aforementioned challenges and ensure greater acceptance among the many end-user industries."

Meanwhile, in their pursuit to improve membrane efficiency, the two subsidiary units of New York-based ITT Industries, Sanitaire and Aquious-PCI Membrane Systems have developed a unique dual stage membrane reactor. It combines the biological filtration and membrane filtration stages into one unit, thereby reducing the cost of operation by a significant amount.

Likewise, membrane major, Koch Membrane Systems, with headquarters in Massachusetts, has developed a new proprietary membrane titled Puron. This technologically advanced membrane module achieves the twin objective of not only improving the water quality, but also occupying much less space than conventional systems. This apart, Koch has also developed a unique UF cartridge, the Targa-10 cartridge, which ensures high water quality while occupying lesser space.

"Reverse Osmosis, Ultrafiltration and Microfiltration Technologies" is a part of Frost's Energy & Power Systems subscription, which also includes research in the following markets: Membrane Separation Technologies: Advances in Wastewater Treatment Technologies. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews are available to the press.

Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and research services.

Frost & Sullivan (, a global growth consulting company, has been partnering with clients to support the development of innovative strategies for more than 40 years. The company's industry expertise integrates growth consulting, growth partnership service, and corporate management training to identify and develop opportunities. Frost & Sullivan serves an extensive clientele that includes Global 1000 companies, emerging companies, and the investment community by providing comprehensive industry coverage that reflects a unique global perspective and combines ongoing analysis of markets, technologies, econometrics, and demographics.


Also see:
-- "Water Quality Concerns Boost Growth Opportunities for Treatment Equipment: Analyst briefing on Singapore, Hong Kong markets Nov. 16"
-- "The Northern European Membrane Separation Systems Market grows: Revenues estimate to reach 1 billion dollars"
-- "European Water and Wastewater Markets: Stringent EU Legislation Fuels Demand for Pumps"


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