The global ceramic membrane market was valued at USD 9.19 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.7% during the forecast period. Properties of ceramic materials such as inertness, longer service life, reliability, heat resistance, backflush capability, regenerative capacity, resistance to acids, alkalis are being effectively used by companies and have developed superior ceramic membrane filtration systems that find applications in a wide range of industries ranging from chemicals to water treatment.
Companies operating in the ceramic membrane space have developed products that have low flow resistance while in turn delivering high mechanical as well as chemical stability. They have also made metallurgical strides and now use a combination of manufacturing materials to produce quality and superior ceramic membranes.
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Ceramic membranes are used to separate particulate matter from a fluid stream in a variety of separation systems. They generally are composed of an asymmetrical structure and usually have two to three different levels of porosity. An intermediate level of the layer is often applied to decrease the overall surface roughness.
When used in several applications, these products are grouped together often in housing and show excellent properties such as high-temperature stability, resistance to chemical activity, a high degree of operational efficiency under varying pressure ranges, among others. Such properties displayed by ceramic membranes have increased their overall applicability particularly in areas where polymer membranes are not fit for use.
Ceramic membranes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations, manufacturers of ceramic membranes provide customized products having different channel diameters, as well as multi-channel construction to provide a higher density. These product offerings vary from each other and are in line with the client's requirements. The ability of ceramic membranes to comply with customization is one of the important factors for the broadening application portfolio of ceramic membranes.
Some of the other advantages of ceramic membranes include resistance to aging, reliability, mechanical stability even under a large pressure gradient, backwash ability, resistance to abrasion, better control over pore dimension fouling, effective elimination of additives, environmental sustainability, and ability to operate at wide operational temperatures, among others.
The market is primarily segmented on the basis of material, technology, application, and region.
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Based on the applications, the market has been segmented into water treatment, food & beverages, chemicals & materials, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and others. Water treatment dominated the application segments and the pharmaceutical segment is expected to witness the highest growth rate over the forecast period. The food & beverages segment is also expected to show robust market growth over the forecast period.
In the food & beverage industry, ceramic membranes are employed for a variety of applications such as juice, wine & beer clarification, juice concentration, sterilization, separation and fractionation of milk and whey, as well as desalination of whey, product dewatering, as well as drinking water purification.
The global food & beverage industry is growing on account of rising population, market demand for premium products, improving economic conditions resulting in rising disposable income and standard of living and this global growth is in turn expected to contribute to the growth of the ceramic membrane market over the forecast period.
Pharmaceutical market applications are one of the most promising segments for ceramic membranes. In the industry, they are used for a variety of purposes including pharmaceutics separation from wastewater, oil-water separation, germs & virus retention, organic solvent filtration, separation of dyes & pigments, acids & caustic filtration, among others.
On the basis of technology, the market has been segmented into Ultrafiltration (UF), Microfiltration (MF), and Nanofiltration (NF). Ultrafiltration enjoyed the highest penetration in 2020 and is expected to do so over the forecast period. Companies have broadened their product portfolios to offer a wide range of ceramic membranes having customized dimensions. This helps companies to serve varying client requirements in terms of impurity profile, yield target, viscosity, and molecular size among others.
Ultrafiltration ceramic membranes can be used for a variety of purposes such as concentration, purification, and clarification of liquids and are used to remove a variety of particulates such as suspended solids, metal hydroxides, viruses, bacteria, emulsified oils among others. The wide applicability of Ultrafiltration has thus benefitted the segment growth.
The microfiltration segment is also expected to witness robust growth over the forecast period. They are mostly used for clarification, removal of suspended solids for producing clear liquid. The process can also be used in conjunction with other filtration technologies.
Some of the applications of microfiltration include food processing, dehydration in pharmaceutical applications, bacteria removal, as well as the removal of pigments, polysaccharides, among others. All these factors are expected to benefit the market segment growth over the forecast period.
On the basis of materials, the market has been segmented into alumina, titania, zirconia, silica, and others. Alumina dominated the ceramic membranes market and is expected to grow at an anticipated CAGR of 11.0% over the forecast period. Alumina ceramic membranes offer high purity in terms of quality in addition to providing high efficiency.
Zirconia has been cleared by regulatory agencies such as FDA for usage in pharmaceutical applications. The primary reason for the same is that the material exhibits zero absorption of biological materials. They can be used in applications such as bulk fermentation broth clarification, antibiotics protein removal, solvent extract clarification, as well as bacteria removal.
Titania along with alumina is manufactured using the sol-gel process. The product offers strong temperature resistance of over 600oCelsius when coated with good adhesion to compliment the support. The product market demand is mainly driven by the need for enhanced thermal tolerance and chemical resistance.
The silica-based ceramic membrane is expected to witness strong growth over the forecast timeframe owing to the ability to create a thin layer of silicon oxide of around 0.3 nanometers. Increasing uses across advanced wastewater treatment, pharmaceuticals, and chemical industries will drive product growth.
Asia Pacific emerged as the largest market in 2020 and this trend is expected to continue its dominance till the end of the forecast period. The growing food & beverage industry in the region, government focus as well as initiatives pertaining to water treatment, modernization of industries such as textiles are some of the factors favoring the market growth in Asia Pacific.
North America is also expected to witness substantial growth over the forecast period. North America is driven by U.S. and Canada as the market demand for the product is increasing in these countries. As the ceramic membrane is used for liquid separation in various applications such as removal of suspended solids from water & wastewater, desalination pretreatment, etc.
European ceramic membrane market is a quite matured industry when compared to other regions. The region is primarily driven by three countries namely France, Germany, and the UK accounting for the majority of industry shares. Reusing water to cater to the rising needs with the aim to mitigate water scarcity and reduce the drought situation has supported the usage of ceramic membrane technology in the market.
Stringent government regulation supporting water reusability will fuel the ceramic membrane growth over the market study timeframe. Notable government investment in the region along with usage of product for municipal water treatment resulting in replacing the product at regular intervals of time is significantly boosting product market growth.
The leading market players in the ceramic membrane market include TAMI industries, Hyflux ltd., GEA Group, Pall Corporation, Veolia Water Technologies, Liqtech A/S, Saint Gobain, Qua Group LLC, Nanostone Water, and Toray Industries.
These players are expanding their presence across various geographies and entering new markets in developing regions to expand their customer base and strengthen their presence in the market. The companies are also introducing new innovative ceramic membrane in the market to cater to the growing consumer demands in the market.