The ceramic flat sheet membrane technology is becoming the preferred solution in many water filtration applications. In some markets, it has become the only approved technology for key applications such as groundwater filtration.
Middle East, South East Asia, and China specifically are heavily investing in and committing to this technology. More than 250M USD have been invested in large size production capacities over the past 24 months to further reduce manufacturing costs and meet increasing demands. New companies are entering this emerging industry, especially in China.
GWI reported in 2017 that ceramic membranes have high expectations to transform the industry. The latest investments and developments since that publication are confirming that the ceramic flat sheet membrane technology is on track to become the future of water filtration on a global scale.
Further performance and cost improvements are the key to universally replace conventional treatment technologies such as sand filters and polymeric ultrafiltration membranes across various applications.
COST IMPROVEMENTS OF 54 – 72% ARE ACHIEVABLE BY USING CERAFILTEC AS THE NEW TECHNOLOGY DESIGN STANDARD
Over the past 2 years, the CERAFILTEC R&D team, based in Germany, has intensively tested and benchmarked 11 different ceramic flat sheet membranes out of 20 identified producers. Detailed lab tests as well as pilots at different sites have been executed. The test phase has proven that the membrane flux performance can be doubled by using CERAFILTEC’s new high flux module. The new ceramic module is the first fully injection molded product without any metal parts (no corrosion) and without a surrounding frame. This not only yields additional cost savings but also enables the ceramic flat membrane technology to be used in seawater, hot water, and other harsh environments for the first time. The injection molded product design has been developed in cooperation with SABIC and was launched 2017.
As the technology inventor and leader, it is CERAFILTEC’s long-term goal to standardize the technology for all producers, similar to the known standardization of RO elements. It is a crucial step for the ceramic flat sheet membrane industry to increase its worldwide acceptance.
As of today, 50% of the globally identified suppliers have committed to produce their ceramic membranes according to CERAFILTEC’s standard size; 5 suppliers are already producing this standard in their facilities.
CERAFILTEC has formed close cooperation with different technology partners. Such alliances are based on a mutually beneficial structure: The ceramic membrane producers have access to the latest high flux module and process know-how from CERAFILTEC to enhance their product competitiveness; CERAFILTEC uses ceramic flat sheet membranes from its alliance producers for its customers.
CERAFILTEC’s current module production in Germany is large enough to meet the demand for the top 5 ceramic producers. The production capacity will be increased with any new ceramic producer onboarding to the new standard.
The demand is expected to increase substantially as market share is taken from conventional treatment solutions. Further, CERAFILTEC will start delivering its new 2020 module version to membrane producers in Europe and in China in Q1 2020.
The latest ceramic membrane benchmark report can be found here.