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Membranes Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Technology (RO/FO, UF, NF, MF, and Others), By Application (Water & Wastewater Treatment, Food & Beverage, Gas Separation, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2022-2029

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102982



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The global membranes market size was USD 6.99 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from USD 7.38 billion in 2022 to USD 11.46 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of 2.5% in 2020 as compared to 2019.

Membranes are barrier films that allow the passing of selected molecules and particles depending upon their size. In other words, they are semi-permeable. On the basis of size, technologies, such as MF (microfiltration), UF (ultrafiltration), NF (nanofiltration), and others, are used for a variety of applications depending upon the size of substrates to be separated. Microfiltration and Ultrafiltration are among the first large-scale applications of these barrier films and are being used in many water treatment plants worldwide. These barrier films are manufactured using natural or synthetic polymers or sintering metallic powders, ceramics, or zeolites. Ceramic ones are highly inert and are preferentially used in high acidic and basic environments. Zeolite barrier films are preferred in gas separation processes due to their uniform pore distribution.

Leading companies are significantly investing in the regional market to stay ahead of increasing competition. For instance, in January 2021, SUEZ SA completed the asset purchase of LANXESS's Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane product line. With this acquisition, SUEZ added a new RO membrane technology to its portfolio. This will strengthen the Water Technologies & Solutions division's offering and allow SUEZ to provide customers with even more help in water treatment.


Disturbance in Global Trade and Logistic Activities to Limit Market Growth

The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic created a disturbance in global trade, production, and logistics activities. Halt in production activities has significantly impacted the economies worldwide, which eventually resulted in the economic slowdown. For instance, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) estimates that in the first week of May 2020, India's unemployment rate was around 27%, which is claimed as a result of extreme strain on the economy. Disruption in the supply and demand chain of raw materials for manufacturing, such as polymers, including polysulfones, polyacrylonitrile, and others, coupled with lack of labor force availability, is straining the productivity of the market.

To cope with the spreading infection, governments imposed certain restrictions and lockdown, which involved a temporary halt in production activities. However, the intense R&D in developing vaccines and rules & regulations are expected to relax the curbs on production and trade activities.


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Increasing Adoption in Pharmaceutical Industry to Drive Market

There has been rapid technological advancement in the pharmaceutical & biomedical industry in recent years. Be it recovery of valuable intermediate or substrate or reducing the concentration of effluent stream, they have an important application in the industry. Nano filtration and pervaporation processes are generally used to reduce the harmful constituents in the effluent stream in the pharmaceutical industry. Nano-filtration barrier films are generally employed to remove dyes, colors, BOD/COD, remove endocrine disruptors, medicinal residue, microplastic, and other impurities. Increasing rules and regulations associated with wastewater treatment and pre-treatment effluents are expected to surge the product demand.


Scarcity of Fresh Drinking Water to Fuel Market Growth

Freshwater for drinking is an essential element for the survival of human life. With a rapid increase in population, the water crisis has only worsened, and it has become the need of the hour to use available resources efficiently. Advancements in technology have reduced the tension on existing freshwater resources. Seawater can now be converted to potable water using this technology. Desalination plants using this technology have become a boon for people and countries where water resources are limited. For instance, in regions such as the Middle East and Africa, people have a large dependency on desalination plants for many activities, including farming, industrial, and day-to-day requirements. As the population is rising worldwide, the water crises are getting worse, and it is evident from the increasing number of desalination projects that this technology is evolving as a game-changer. Moreover, an increasing number of household water purifiers based on this technology also significantly contribute to consumption.    

Rising Aquatic Pollution to Drive Market

Industries contribute to a large amount of water pollution, and with urbanization & rapid industrialization in developing countries, the strain on water resources has significantly increased. The rising environmental concerns have compelled lawmakers to frame stringent industry discharge norms to curb water pollution. Many industries use this technology to reduce the severity and level of pollutants in their discharge streams to comply with the norms. The concept of zero discharge is relatively new, and membranes play a pivotal role in achieving zero liquid discharge (ZLD), thus reducing the environmental impact of industries. As industrialization continues to strive the development process, reducing the impact is the only way to maintain sustained growth. These factors are driving the membranes market growth.  


Fouling Results in Frequent Replacements to Affect Membrane Adoption

Fouling is a major problem, and it has adverse effects on its operations. It decreases its efficiency and flux, resulting in increased energy consumption and spoiling the water or stream quality. Chemical cleaning or replacements are the only options (both require considerable expenses) to eliminate fouled products. Considering these costs, applications and their adoption get confined to specific industries, thus affecting the market growth.    


By Technology Analysis

RO/FO Technology to Retain its Dominance in Future Owing to Wide Adoption

RO/FO technology is the most widely and cost-effective technology and is expected to grow during the forecast period due to its high adoption in water and wastewater treatment. Besides, it has healthy adoption in industrial applications, ensuring its sound growth in the industry. As water crises continue to escalate, RO system technology is poised to grow the fastest in the market. MF technology, which plays an important role in the pre-treatment stream, is anticipated to follow RO segment growth at a slightly low rate. The usage of UF technology is significantly rising owing to its ability to remove high molecular dissolved compounds. The NF segment has high demand in water & wastewater treatment and industrial applications. The others segment includes ion-exchange technology, pervaporation, dialysis, and electro-dialysis. The growth of the segment is driven by a rise in awareness of water and wastewater treatment due to depleting levels of freshwater sources and the need for selective separation to meet quality standards. Furthermore, sustainability policies pertaining to the environment are supporting the segment growth.

By Application Analysis

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Increasing Need for Clean Water to Boost Growth of Water & Wastewater Treatment Segment

Water & wastewater treatment has been the primary purpose for developing membranes. Later, with the evolution of technology, the applications extended into various industries, including food & beverage, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and others. With depleting water resources, purification technologies have become promising technologies to supply and fulfill potable water needs. Food & beverage accounts for the second largest share in the global market. The rising disposable income combined, shifting consumer preference toward processed foods, and strict food safety regulations are the major factors influencing the food & beverage segments growth. The rising demand for membranes for carbon capture is expected to drive the growth of the gas separation segment. The others segment includes pharmaceutical, biomedical, and other industries. The primary growth factor for the segment is the rapid growth of the biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industries. Furthermore, the incorporation of single-use membrane technologies due to cost-efficiency is supporting the segment growth.       


Asia Pacific Membranes Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)

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The market size in Asia Pacific stood at USD 2.47 billion in 2021 on the back of China, Japan, India, Australia, and several other Southeast Asian countries. Emerging economies such as India and China are the most promising markets in terms of growth. China accounted for the largest share of the Asia Pacific market in 2021. The country is expected to exhibit a growth rate of 8.7% from 2022 to 2029. The growth is primarily attributed to the increasing number of regulations pertaining to the protection of natural water bodies. China revised existing laws and acted to accommodate the changing climatic conditions and water scarcity levels such as Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law and Environmental Protection Law. In India, the city of Chennai already has two desalination plants, each with a capacity of 100 million liters per day (MLD). The third plant with a capacity of 150 MLD was announced in 2019 by the local government and is set to begin operations in 2021. These initiatives are expected to generate good business for the market over the foreseeable period and beyond. Japan is the leading producer of membranes in the world, and as per WIPO data, the country also leads in the intellectual rights for majority of the products.

Europe is the second largest region and key market on the back of western European countries, including Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. The growth of the market in Europe is attributed to the increasing awareness regarding the issue of water scarcity and initiatives by the government to protect freshwater sources. The rise in scarcity of freshwater and high demand for safe drinking water in growing economies is fueling the market growth in the Rest of Europe. The growing population and consistently rising demand for food & beverages will support market growth in the Rest of Europe.

In North America, the market growth is primarily owed to the increasing number of stringent regulations on the treatment of water and wastewater. The U.S. accounted for the largest share in the North American market. The implementation of new acts and laws by the government to facilitate uncontaminated and safe drinking water for the citizens is fueling the demand in the U.S. and Canada.

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In Latin America, Brazil is also expected to witness the highest growth rate during the forecast period owing to the expansion of the food industry. The country’s food industry comprises more than 35,800 food processing companies, and the necessity to have zero contamination in their products is fueling the demand. Mexico is focusing on supplying uncontaminated water to its citizens as well as keeping the freshwater bodies free of pollutants and contaminants. The country has plans to introduce new laws and regulations by scrapping the General Law on Waters (LAN) and General Law on Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection, which lack coordination. Hence, the country will witness significant growth during the forecast period. The Middle East & Africa is the fastest-growing region in the market and is home to over 45% of the global desalination capacity. The scarcity of water in the region has significantly fueled the construction of water treatment and desalination facilities. People in this region have a great dependency on desalination plants due to the limited availability of freshwater resources.


Key Players to Focus on Expanding their Existing Production Capacities

The global market is highly fragmented, with over several 1000 membrane manufacturers and integrators. China alone has more than 1000 manufacturers. The market is quite competitive and has a tight supply. The purchasing power of a buyer is far greater than the seller. However, players such as DuPont, Toray Industries, KOCH, GE, and others have recognizable shares in the market. Research and development of innovative technologies hold an important place for the players; as a result, players spend healthy amounts of their revenue on R&D activities.



  • September 2021: Synder announced the opening of a new sales office in its Vacaville, California headquarters. The Technical Sales Team and Project Engineers will operate in the 2600 sq. ft. office space, which is part of the 53,000 sq. ft. R&D center, system fabrication, and a production facility.

  • April 2021: KOCH Separation Solutions unveiled the addition of its new technology named INDU-COR HD (High Density) to its tubular membrane range, which is developed to treat industrial waste streams efficiently. INDU-COR HD has a 300% high packing density than standard INDU-COR, making crossflow filtration more cost-effective while taking up less space. This new product configuration boosts operating efficiency and sustainability while lowering waste treatment costs for clients.


An Infographic Representation of Membranes Market

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The market report includes both qualitative as well as quantitative data in regards with the global market. Quantitative insights cover the global market value in USD billion across each segment, sub-segment, and region profiled in the scope of the study. Moreover, this research report provides membranes market shares in 2021, growth rates of all segments & sub-segments, and key countries across each region. Qualitative data provide detailed analysis of key drivers, restraining factors, potential growth opportunities, and key market trends related to the market. The competitive landscape chapter highlights the detailed company profiles of the market players present in this market.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Billion)


By Technology, Application, and Geography

By Technology

  • RO/FO

  • MF

  • UF

  • NF

  • Others

By Application

  • Water & Wastewater Treatment

  • Food & Beverage

  • Gas Separation

  • Others

By Region

  • North America (By Technology, By Application, and By Country)

    • U.S. (By Application)

    • Canada (By Application)

  • Europe (By Technology, By Application, and By Country)

    • Germany (By Application)

    • U.K. (By Application)

    • France (By Application)

    • Italy (By Application)

    • Spain (By Application)

    • Russia (By Application)

    • Rest of Europe (By Application)

  • Asia Pacific (By Technology, By Application, and By Country)

    • China (By Application)

    • India (By Application)

    • Japan (By Application)

    • South Korea (By Application)

    • Australia (By Application)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Application)

  • Latin America (By Technology, By Application, and By Country)

    • Brazil (By Application)

    • Mexico (By Application)

    • Rest of Latin America (By Application)

  • Middle East & Africa (By Technology, By Application, and By Country)

    • Saudi Arabia (By Application)

    • UAE (By Application)

    • Kuwait (By Application)

    • Qatar (By Application)

    • Rest of MEA (By Application)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 6.99 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 11.46 billion by 2029.

The global market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5% during the forecast period.

The bleaching agent segment is expected to be the leading application segment in the market during the forecast period.

Scarcity of drinking water is the key factor driving the market growth.

DuPont, Toray, KOCH, GE, Suez, and others are the major companies in the global market.

Asia Pacific dominated the global market in 2021.

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