The recession and shrinking capital budgets are reducing the forecast for the cross-flow membrane system market for 2009, according to a report by the McIlvaine Company (www.mcilvainecompany.com). The present forecast is for a 3 percent increase from last year to $9.1 billion worldwide. Previously, McIlvaine had forecast a 9 percent increase to $9.6 billion.

McIlvaine predicts some of the bigger markets will grow enough to offset substantial reductions in smaller markets. For example, McIlvaine says there will be a substantial reduction in the $430 million semiconductor market, but this will be more than offset by a $90 million increase in the drinking water sector. This does not include desalination, which will add another $200 million increase, according to McIlvaine. The residential point-of-entry market figures to be down in the United States due to slumping new home sales. On the other hand, McIlvaine says demand in Asia for better water will boost the residential/commercial market.

McIlvaine predicts water and wastewater infrastructure programs in both the United States and China will be accelerated as part of a stimulus package for each of these economies. Meanwhile, sales of RO (reverse osmosis) systems and modules are forecast to exceed $4 billion in 2009, with microfiltration sales coming in at $2.5 billion and ultrafiltration systems and cartridges at $2.6 billion.

The leading purchasers of cross-flow membrane technology by country will be as follows:
1. United States
2. Japan
3. Saudi Arabia
4.China
5. Spain
6. South Korea
7. India
8. Germany
9. Taiwan
10. United Kingdom

The market for cross-flow membrane technology is global, with large companies such as GE and Siemens taking larger market shares, according to McIlvaine. Desalination remains the largest market followed by municipal drinking water, pharmaceutical manufacturing, residential/commercial buildings and chemicals.
McIlvaine says one of the higher growth segments involves the combination of membranes with biological treatment. Membrane bioreactors are used in municipal, food and other applications.

There are a number of continuing advancements in cross-flow technology, according to McIlvaine. One is the availability of 16-inch diameter elements, which provide much greater throughput per element than with 12-inch and eight-inch elements. McIlvaine says there are also continuing improvements in membrane design to lessen energy consumption.

For more information on McIlvaine’s RO/UF/MF World Markets report, click here.