A study conducted by Wellesley, Mass.-based BCC Research found that the global market for microfiltration membranes used in liquid separations was $792 million in 2005; at an average annual growth rate of 9.4%, the market is estimated to reach more than $1.2 billion by 2010. The growth in this market is driven by U.S. EPA and Food and Drug Administration regulations, industry standards, consumer demand, and the replacement of outdated equipment.
The microfiltration market became popular in the late 1990s as it became a trend to purify drinking water to prevent waterborne diseases. Since then, improved modules and materials have decreased the operating costs of microfiltration by more than 80%. Microfiltration is used in treating drinking water, filtering wastewater, potable water production, pretreating reverse osmosis, biotech research, and filtering chemicals and water in semiconductor fabrication.
One of the most promising areas for microfiltration market growth is in wastewater treatment. Membrane bioreactors using microfiltration modules are becoming popular among treatment plants that are upgrading their equipment to meet new stringent discharge standards.