Page 19 - Water & Wastewater Asia Jul

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July / August 2013
At a Glance:
Chinese membrane
Driven by significant downstreamdemand and favourable
regulatory conditions, growth in the Chinese membranes
market is expected to remain strong in the coming years
hina faces a water shortage problem now. At
90L/day, China’s water consumption per capita
is only around 1/6th of the US. But as the world’s
largest fresh water consumers by volume, having
consumed over 1.3 trillion cubic metres of fresh water
in 2012, compared to the 800 billion cubic metres by
the US, China’s thirst for water will only increase as
the country continues to grow. While the water rich,
southern regions are able to remain largely self-sufficient
in their water needs, most of the drier northern regions
are already facing large water deficits. As the graph
below illustrates, these problematic regions are also
responsible for close to half of the Chinese industrial
output. This has lead to drastic undertakings by the
central government, such as the controversial South–
North Water Transfer Project, to help alleviate the
persistent water shortage faced by the north.
With the passing of the 12th 5-year plan, the central
government is shifting their focus from maximising
GDP growth, to achieving a sustainable rate of growth
that will focus on the protection and sustainable
management of vital resources. Part of this plan will
involve limiting provincial water usage through annual
quotas assigned by the central government. However,
with the rapid growth in domestic consumption from the
rising middle class, water usage will only increase as
industrial output continues to grow.Although traditional
water treatment methods such as Advanced Oxidation
Processes (AOP), Sequencing Batch Reactors (SBR) or
Electrodeionization (EDI), often require a smaller initial
capital outlay, these methods also contain operational
drawbacks compared to the use of membranes. Such
as the need for continuous input of expensive chemical
reagents inAOPsystems or the large energy consumption
in EDI systems, leading to much higher operating costs
in the long-run. Therefore, water dependant industrial
users will likely adopt newwater recycling technologies
incorporating filtration membranes, over the use of
these traditional systems, to help manage their water
consumption needs.
In response to the expected growth potential in this
industry, GCiS has recently published a report on the
Chinese membranes market. Based on in-depth, first-
hand field research with the top membranes suppliers in
China, this report provides a comprehensive overview
of the current state of the membranes market and its
development over the next few years.
The product: Filtration membranes
Similar to the West, Chinese membranes market
comprises four major product segments. Categorised in
terms of their pore sizes, from the largest to smallest,
the four major filtration membrane segments are:
Microfiltration (MF), Ultrafiltration (UF), Nanofiltration
(NF) and Reverse Osmosis (RO). Although the biggest
industrial application of filtration membranes is in
water production and treatment, the ability to provide
an efficient way of separating particles from various
fluids has brought the use of filtration membranes into
various industrial applications such as, filters for blood