The Membrane Microfiltration Market

Published - Mar 2006| Analyst - Susan Hanft| Code - MST028C
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for microfiltration (MF) membranes used in liquid separations is estimated at $792 million in 2005 and rising at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 9.4% during the next five years, much more rapidly than predicted world GDP growth (3% to 4%), but not as rapidly as the world market for some other membrane types, such as reverse osmosis (RO) (10.3%).
  • Large potential MF markets are in wastewater treatment, and sales of MBRs using MF modules are a rapidly growing membrane application. Growth in the segment stems from interest in treating wastewater to produce high quality water for discharge or recycling and, in industry, for reclaiming process water.
  • MF is gaining market share for the cold filtration of beer and microbial stabilization of wine. The growing unpopularity of diatomaceous earth for filtering beer has created strong interest in membrane technology.


First popularized in the late 1990s, MF systems gained rapid acceptance for drinking water treatment following waterborne disease outbreaks in the U.S. and Canada. Because membrane filtration is essential to removing pathogenic microorganisms, as mandated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, it is expected that conventional drinking water treatment will eventually be completely replaced by membrane systems. Worldwide, potable water treatment remains the largest aqueous separation for MF.

For many applications, MF membrane costs have dropped more than 80% since the 1990s as a result of increased competition, better system design, and lower manufacturing costs. MF operating costs have decreased because of improvements in materials and modules, such as chlorine resistance, greater surface area, higher permeability, and longer membrane lifetimes. As a result, several typical applications have emerged for MF technology: drinking water treatment, filtration of various wastewaters for reuse, RO pretreatment, microbial stabilization of wine and beer, biotech research and bioprocessing, and chemical and water filtration in semiconductor fabrication.

This BCC Research market opportunity report provides an in-depth analysis of the technical and market drivers relating to the market for microfiltration (MF) membranes, evaluating the current worth of MF membranes by application, and forecasting growth and trends in the various sectors over the next five years. The conclusions are illustrated with important statistical information on markets, applications, industry structure, and dynamics, along with technological developments.

This comprehensive analysis provides specific, detailed information crucial to making educated decisions. It is an important source of information on the industry, a reference manual on an advanced technology and a resource that provides information to decision-makers who need to stay abreast of the state of the art.


This report examines:

  • The market for MF as reflected by the major applications of the technology: food and beverage processing, biopharmaceuticals manufacture, potable water production, wastewater treatment, industrial processes, and semiconductor fabrication
  • Five-year projections of market activity and value
  • Industry structure, membrane applications and trends, pricing considerations, R&D, government regulations, company profiles, and competitive technologies
  • The global market for MF as applied to liquid separations.


Research for this report began with a re-analysis of the available technical and business literature, as well as an evaluation of the personal records of the water treatment industry available to the author. Conversations with industry experts and company representatives and a review of their published works provide the backbone for an evaluation of the MF membrane industry. Other sources of information include product literature from system suppliers, patent information, annual reports, and Business Communication Co.'s monthly newsletter Membrane & Separation Technology News.

Growth rates of MF systems are not the same for all world regions and are not increasing from the same base. Common to all regions, however, is the fact that sales of the technology are growing faster than the GDPs of countries installing the systems and more rapidly than the industries that use them. Forecasts in this report are based on announced projects and anticipated capacity additions over the next 5 years.

Costs are based on published data and interviews with industry participants. MF "membranes" refers to sheet, hollow fiber or tubular membrane material enclosed in housings, where relevant, and packaged into modules, capsules, cartridges or cassettes. Calculations are based on the retail price of products rather than the discounted costs available to large volume users and OEMs. Sales of replacement membranes are included in market sizes and forecasts.


The information sources for this study include online research, patent literature, technical journals and interviews with principals in the industry. The monthly newsletter Membrane & Separation Technology News published by Business Communications Co., Inc. provides regular updates on industry and technology news events influencing the membrane industry.

In evaluating the global market for microfiltration membranes , information was obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce; U.S. Department of State; Aquastat, the United Nation's global water information system and publications from the American Water Works Association, the Water Environment Federation, the European Commission, the Water Resources Institute and various academic institutions. Projections for each market are made in terms of constant dollars. Historical values are for the year given.


During the past 6 years, Susan Hanft has authored more than 12 BCC market opportunity reports in the fields of membrane technology and water/wastewater treatment. Hanft also serves as editor of the BCC newsletter, Membrane & Separations Technology News.

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