Desalination Will Account For 35 Percent of Membrane Use Next Year


Sales of membrane systems and modules for desalination will account for 35 percent of the $11 billion cross-flow membrane market next year according to the latest updates in the McIlvaine RO, UF, MF World Market.

Desalination is becoming more economical as larger modules and more efficient filtration are being implemented.

Ultrafiltration membrane pre-filter systems are now increasingly used in conjunction with the final reverse osmosis (RO) systems. One recent example is an order to BASF subsidiary inge GmbH to supply more than 4000 T-Rack 3.0 series ultrafiltration (UF) modules for a desalination plant in Jamnagar, India. The inge modules will provide 450,000 cubic metres of pretreated water per day to one of India s largest oil refineries.

Research and development continues. Longer term an expensive compound called Graphene could make desalination highly affordable. Graphene behaves strangely around water. Water can pass through it, but almost nothing else can. (Lockheed claims a Graphene filter would reduce energy costs of reverse osmosis desalination by 99 percent).

Water reuse is another factor in the high growth rate of the cross-flow membrane industry. The Middle East now realizes that the 40 percent of treated sewage wastewater that flows into the seas could be economically and efficiently reused.

A very large market is developing due to water requirements for conversion of coal to fuels, chemicals and synthetic natural gas. A huge program in Western and Northern China will convert 15 percent of the world s annual coal production into gasoline, fertilizer, methanol and substitute natural gas. The worldwide environmental concerns about the water implications of this initiative are being met by a plan to maximize water reuse.

Korea and other Asian countries are closely watching the Chinese program. Ukraine is moving forward with two large plants to counter the threats of reduced gas suppliers from Russia.

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