World Water Month may be over, but the need for innovative filtration and separation technologies is rapidly accelerating. Driving this momentum are several factors, including intensified global water shortages as well as increasingly stringent guidelines for drinking water and wastewater discharge quality. Adding to this are significant drops in the cost of membrane production and operation, priming membrane filtration to be a major industrial technology. The markets have already caught wind of this acceleration: global demand for membrane filtration technology is expected to grow 8.5% annually, reaching $26.3B in 2019, while the American market alone is expected to reach $6.2B in 2018.
Make way for the disruptors.
The introduction of cutting-edge materials is launching exciting new platforms that support step changes in performance. Several companies have set benchmarks for membrane innovation, including ceramic membrane-based Nanostone Water; Dioxide Materials and its Sustainion membranes, which enable electrolyzers to outperform the competition; and Polycera Membranes’ disruptive electro-organic polymeric membranes. These three disruptors are making their mark in the filtration space and expanding the range of possibilities for these technologies.
Key among the disruptors is Nanostone Water, which manufactures a unique high surface area ceramic ultrafiltration membrane module for municipal and industrial water treatment. The key to the performance of the Nanostone ceramic membrane is the hydrophilic nanoparticle coating. The nano-sized ceramic particles are asymmetrically layered, sintered, and fused together at high temperature.
Disruptors are making their mark in the filtration space and expanding the range of possibilities for these technologies.
Florida-based Dioxide Materials’ products include Sustainion membranes and ionomers, which act both as catalysts and electrolytes in electrochemical cells. The disruptor also offers carbon dioxide and water electrolyzers to produce renewable syngas, as well as systems to convert air, water, and renewable energy into renewable gasoline. In 2012, Dioxide formed a Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project (ARPA-E) partnership with 3M Company to further explore the technical and commercial viability of this technology. Other industry interest has been expressed by Linde, Modac, and Siemens.
Polycera Membranes goes beyond traditional polymeric and ceramic materials, offering a unique combination of permeability, robustness, and best-in-class hydrophilicity for the treatment of a variety of wastewater streams. A spin-off of Water Planet, Polycera’s material platform is derived from Nobel Prize-winning polymer chemistry, which extends the range of ultrafiltration performance. These membranes exhibit unique electronic behavior that can shift from conducting to semi-conducting to plastic-like insulating properties.
These three companies are proving that innovative and nimble companies have the potential to make a substantial impact in today’s separation space. At Match Point Strategies, we keep tabs on market disruptors and innovators to better understand the industries in which our clients operate. Learn more about Match Point Strategies and our services here.