Guest Column | March 21, 2023

Growing Popularity Of Ultrafiltration Technology To Boost Hollow Fiber Membrane Market

By Vijay Ovhal

Hollow Fiber Membrane Market (002)

Global water usage has increased multifold over the recent decades due to various factors, including consistent population growth, changing consumption patterns, and fast-paced economic growth.

Water is a crucial asset to businesses as well as communities as it helps the economy prosper and communities thrive. Besides, fresh water is essential to sustain healthy lives and a healthy environment because all species, especially humans, depend on water not only for the food they eat, but also the energy they generate, the goods they produce, and, of course, for drinking and other chores. However, when the demand outstrips the supply, everything from the communities to the economy to the environment is put at grave risk.

According to the National Environmental Education Foundation:

  • An average household in the U.S. uses over 300 gallons of water every day at home, most of which is used by the toilet and shower. 
  • Water managers in 40 states in the U.S. anticipate water scarcity in some portions of their states in the coming few years.

These estimates depict that we are at a tipping point and the increasing water demand is poised to present unprecedented challenges for the future. This calls for efficient water treatment solutions, such as hollow fiber membrane market, to safeguard our water resources vital for the well-being of humans and the planet.

Hollow fiber membrane market — What is driving its adoption over the coming years?

Over the recent years, industries and municipalities worldwide have been employing ultrafiltration (UF) membrane technology to protect public health, safeguard the environment, and develop sustainable water supplies.

Hollow fiber UF membrane technology, using physical barrier filtration, offers an efficient way to purify water to help get rid of pathogens in water. UF purification needs no chemicals, is highly effective, and does not dismiss all natural minerals such as magnesium and calcium. Though a variety of factors are responsible for driving the demand for UF membranes, a few are listed here:

  1. Flourishing dairy industry in the Asia Pacific hollow fiber membrane market

Across the dairy sector, ultrafiltration is used for an expansive range of applications, including protein standardization of fresh cheese production, cheese milk, decalcification of permeates, protein concentration, as well as lactose reduction of milk. Especially, UF lets the smaller water, lactose, vitamin, and mineral molecules pass through the membrane while the larger protein and fat molecules are concentrated and retained.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated the milk output in Asia — the world’s largest milk-producing region, to reach nearly 419 million tons in 2022, recording a 2.1% year-on-year growth. Much of this output growth is predicted in countries such as India, Pakistan, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Japan. 

These estimates point toward the hollow fiber membrane market outlook of the dairy industry across several Asia Pacific economies, which may propel hollow fiber UF membrane sales over the coming years. 

  1. Inflating food demand 

With the consistent surge in global population, the demand for food has grown exponentially over the years so has the agricultural and food production worldwide.

According to the USDA Economic Research Service, agriculture, food, and related sectors amassed a 5.4% share of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021. This roughly values at around $1.264 trillion. 

Since UF purification is used in several food applications, such as for concentration of proteins, pectin, and starch, stabilization of wine and fruit juices, removal of bacteria and cellular debris from beer, removal of polysaccharides, colloidal impurities and proteins in sugar refining, and sterile filtration of biologicals, the technology is poised to gain remarkable traction through the ensuing years.

  1. New product launches

While the technology has crossed leaps and bounds when it comes to popularity and ease of use, product manufacturers globally have been putting in additional efforts to develop advanced purification solutions and better serve their customer base.

For instance, in February 2023, DuPont announced capsulizing and rebranding its eclectic DuPont™ IntegraTec™ portfolio consisting of several legacy UF brands such as Memcor® and Inge® to better serve its customers across industrial and municipal verticals by offering sustainable water conservation, purification, and reuse. 

The new offering will help the company's customers leverage the benefits of the Best-Fit ultrafiltration technology, which can either be utilized as a component of a multi-technology water treatment solution or alone, toward the goals of high recovery, high-filtration performance, and energy savings.

Such innovations will help hollow fiber membrane market gain a broad consumer base and drive lucrative growth in the foreseeable future.

Stringent drinking water regulations to boost hollow fiber membrane market sales

Urban wastewater has emerged as a major concern as its inadequate treatment can become one of the leading causes of water pollution. Since the global population is expanding day by day and urbanization and industrialization are moving at a faster rate than ever, the need for freshwater remains crucial.

Driven by these concerns, governments and regional authorities worldwide have been infusing significant funds and undertaking several initiatives to ensure proper wastewater treatment.

To illustrate, the U.S. EPA has set legal limits on more than 90 contaminants in drinking water and mandates the use of the best available technology in water systems to achieve the desired quality of water. This apart, the organization, under its Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), lets individual states enforce and set their separate drinking water standards if they are, at a minimum, as strict as the EPA's norms.

In the same row, the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive implemented across the European Union ensures the collection of an estimated 98% of wastewater, with the satisfactory treatment of about 92% of it.

With the implementation of such norms and initiatives, the wastewater treatment sector is set to witness lucrative growth for hollow fiber membrane market, which, in consequence, will bolster the adoption of hollow fiber membranes.