According to a report by BCC Research, the global market for nanofiltration membranes is expected to grow to $445.1 million by 2019, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6%. The water and wastewater treatment segment dominates the overall market with 74.6% market share.
Nanofiltration is a pressure-driven, membrane-based separation technology using membranes that are capable of retaining nanoscale particles and molecules. With three main types of nanofiltration membranes—polymeric, inorganic (e.g., ceramic and carbon), and hybrid (or organic/inorganic)—this technology is finding increasing application across a broad range of industries, including water and wastewater treatment, food and beverage, chemical and petrochemical, pharmaceutical and biomedical, metalworking, agriculture, textiles, and solid waste management.
Membranes for water and wastewater treatment represent the largest share of the market, by far. This segment alone is expected to reach $338 million in 2019 and register a healthy CAGR of 16.1%. Revenues within this category are primarily driven by sales of nanofiltration membranes for water softening, desalination, and wastewater treatment.
Although generating lower revenues, the pharmaceutical and biomedical category is the fastest-moving segment in the overall market and is expected to grow to $22.7 million by 2019, moving at a significant 19.5% CAGR. In this sector, nanofiltration is used mainly for plasma purification, fractionation of proteins, virus removal from plasma products, preparation of desalted and concentrated antibiotics, immobilization of cells and enzymes in biosynthesis, and filtration of DNA, RNA and endotoxins.
“Membrane-based separation technologies have been receiving increasing interest in recent years,” said Margareth Gagliardi, nanotechnology analyst. “Not only do they represent more cost-effective, low-maintenance, easy-to-operate and energy-saving processes compared to other popular separation methods, they’re also creating new opportunities in the separation and recycling of chemical compounds that could not be previously processed by other means.”
The increased market penetration of these products is attributed to a number of factors, including a rising demand for potable water and reduced freshwater sources, environmental restrictions on industrial and municipal wastewater discharges, and lower operating costs compared to, for example, reverse osmosis.