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Global Membrane Bioreactor Market - Outlook and Forecast 2023-2028
The global membrane bioreactors market witnessed a valuation of USD 3.83 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to reach USD 6.07 billion by 2028, showcasing a CAGR of 7.94% during the forecast period. This growth is primarily driven by the increasing adoption of membrane bioreactors in the municipal sector. The numerous advantages offered by membrane bioreactors over conventional activated sludge treatment methods have contributed to the growing demand for these systems. The need for treated water and effective removal of pathogens from wastewater treatment plants have further fueled the market for membrane bioreactors. Moreover, ongoing research and development efforts to develop advanced and cost-effective wastewater treatment solutions with lower energy requirements are expected to propel the market for membrane bioreactors in the coming years.
Urbanization and population growth have had significant environmental implications, depleting resources and causing pollution and health issues in densely populated areas. The quality of water in urban regions is often compromised due to industrial waste, making access to clean water a critical need. This has led to an increased demand for membrane bioreactors in water treatment systems as awareness regarding the detrimental effects of contaminated water grows. Additionally, the rising global demand for energy and water, driven by urbanization, necessitates strict control over effluent discharge from power plants into water bodies, thereby driving the installation of membrane bioreactors. These factors collectively contribute to the anticipated growth of the membrane bioreactors market in the coming years.
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USD 7.9 billion in 2021
Membrane Type, System Configuration, Application, System Type, and Geography
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The scarcity of clean water is a pressing global challenge that poses threats to economic growth, ecosystem health, and water security. Climate change, industrialization, and economic development further compound the challenges of ensuring sufficient and safe drinking water supplies. Both industrial and public sectors consume substantial amounts of freshwater while generating large volumes of wastewater. If not appropriately treated, the discharge of untreated wastewater into aquatic environments can cause pollution, impacting public health and marine ecosystems. In this context, the growing emphasis on water recycling and wastewater recovery has emerged as a prominent trend. Wastewater reuse helps reduce the volume of discharged wastewater and minimizes the environmental impact, thereby alleviating pressure on freshwater resources and preserving aquatic ecosystems. Membrane bioreactors play a crucial role in wastewater management by reducing wastewater discharge and improving water usage efficiency, striking a balance between environmental preservation and the utilization of freshwater resources.
The implementation of membrane bioreactors (MBRs) in new installations offers the advantage of accommodating higher wastewater flow rates or achieving improved treatment performance within a smaller footprint compared to conventional designs that employ sand filters and secondary clarifiers. Historically, due to high capital costs and operational expenses, membrane bioreactors were predominantly used in smaller-scale systems. However, there is now a growing trend of utilizing membrane bioreactors in larger-scale systems. These systems are particularly suitable for commercial and industrial applications where high-quality effluent is required for reuse or surface water discharge activities that necessitate extensive nutrient removal, such as phosphorus removal. Nevertheless, it is important to note that membrane bioreactors do incur higher operating costs, primarily driven by increased energy requirements to mitigate membrane fouling. This acts as a barrier to the widespread adoption of membrane bioreactors in the market.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including membrane type, system configuration, application, system type, and geography.
Segmentation by Membrane Type
Segmentation by System Configuration
Segmentation by Application
Segmentation by System Type
Segmentation by Geography
North America – US, Canada
Europe – Germany, France, UK, Italy, Russia
Asia-Pacific – China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia
Latin America – Brazil, Mexico
Middle East & Africa – South Africa, GCC
The global membrane bioreactors market can be categorized by membrane type into hollow fiber, flat sheet, and multi-tubular. As of 2022, the hollow fiber segment held the largest market share and was dominant in the membrane-type segment. Furthermore, the hollow fiber segment is expected to experience the highest growth rate during the forecast period. Hollow fiber configurations form one of the three major configurations for membrane bioreactor technology. These membranes are typically vertically oriented, with aerators integrated into the frame or module. The fibers have some slack to allow lateral movement in the flow of air bubbles, facilitating sludge airlift across the fiber bundle. Hollow fiber membranes are predominantly used in immersed MBRs for municipal and industrial applications. Large installations favor hollow-fiber membranes due to their lower energy demand for membrane aeration. Hollow-fiber membrane bioreactors (HFBs) find application in culturing highly metabolic cells such as hepatocytes that require improved mass transfer compared to other cell types.
In terms of system configuration, the submerged segment dominated the global membrane bioreactors market with a market share of over 57% in 2022. Submerged membrane bioreactors employ a promising technology for water reclamation and wastewater treatment. This type of bioreactor allows separation and chemical reactions to occur simultaneously, resulting in a synergistic effect. Submerged systems exhibit lower sludge production and better effluent quality compared to conventional activated sludge processes, making them favorable for wastewater treatment.
The municipal application segment held the largest market share in the global membrane bioreactors market in 2022. Increasing global population has led to a rise in the demand for treated water. The scarcity of water resources has further intensified the need for water recycling and treatment services. Municipal wastewater treatment accounts for a significant portion of membrane bioreactor capacity as the volume of sewage is larger than that of industrial effluent. Municipal wastewater treatment aims to meet regulatory requirements for discharge into environmental waters.
By system type, the gravity-based segment accounted for the largest share of the global membrane bioreactors market in 2022. Gravity-based systems are immersed and typically utilize flat sheet or hollow fiber membranes in bioreactors or subsequent membrane tanks. Gravity-driven membrane (GDM) filtration is a preferred configuration for membrane bioreactors as it operates at ultra-low pressure through gravity, requiring minimal energy. GDM can effectively treat different types of water, including diluted wastewater and surface water, with varying levels of contaminants. It shows particular promise in water reuse and seawater pre-treatment.
The APAC region was the largest market for membrane bioreactors in 2022, comprising over 39% of the global market share. The region is expected to witness exponential growth during the forecast period due to the increasing adoption of technologically advanced products. Rapid urbanization, particularly in countries like India, is improving living standards and presenting opportunities for market expansion. Additionally, public sector investments in upgrading water and wastewater treatment systems with membrane bioreactor technology are driving market growth.
North America is experiencing growth due to increased investments in research and development for advanced technologies and the rising demand for water treatment systems. The pharmaceutical industry’s expansion has also fueled the demand for membrane bioreactors in the region. In Europe, membrane bioreactors are increasingly utilized to provide cleaner rivers, groundwater, lakes, and coastal beaches. Many European water companies are commissioning and considering MBRs to meet stringent European water standards for safe water discharge. Latin America and the Middle East represent highly potential membrane bioreactors markets with ample growth opportunities.
In the global membrane bioreactors (MBR) market, there is a notable level of fragmentation, with numerous small and medium-sized manufacturers holding a substantial share of the industry. However, major vendors are actively adopting innovative technologies to maintain their positions. In recent years, the market has witnessed several acquisitions, enabling companies to enhance their capabilities and provide comprehensive solutions encompassing multiple technologies. Nevertheless, the market is predominantly controlled by large players who hold significant industry shares. Prominent players such as Evoqua Water Technologies, KUBOTA Corporation, Mitsubishi Chemical Aqua Solutions, and Veolia have established strong footholds in the global membrane bioreactors market.
The increasing presence of these large companies poses ongoing challenges for smaller competitors. Moreover, the financial advantages enjoyed by these industry giants in critical areas like research, development, and marketing further solidify their position. Larger companies have developed the capacity to offer comprehensive solutions that encompass a wide range of water requirements. They are determined to expand their product portfolios and strengthen their market presence through strategic acquisitions and partnerships. Customers are increasingly seeking system suppliers capable of delivering complete solutions for various water needs. This includes engineering contracts that encompass both processed water and wastewater systems.
Key companies profiled in this report include Evoqua Water Technologies, KUBOTA Corporation, Mitsubishi Chemical Aqua Solutions, Veolia, Alfa Laval, Aquatech International, Asahi Kasei, BioprocessH2O, CITIC Envirotech, Culligan, HUBER SE, Koch Separation Solutions, Newterra, Pall Corporation, Parkson Corporation, Pentair, Saur, Siemens, Toray Industries, WEHRLE, Ovivo, Smith & Loveless, Lenntech, DuPont, Hinada, MANN+HUMMEL, MARTIN Membrane Systems, Sanitherm, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Triqua International.
Key Questions Answered
What is the market size of the membrane bioreactors industry?
The membrane bioreactors market had a global value of USD 3.83 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 6.07 billion by 2028.
What is the growth rate of the global membrane bioreactors market?
The global membrane bioreactors market is experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.94% from 2022 to 2028.
Who are the major players in the global membrane bioreactors (MBR) market?
Evoqua Water Technologies, KUBOTA Corporation, Mitsubishi Chemical Aqua Solutions, and Veolia are the key players in the global membrane bioreactors (MBR) market.
Which region dominates the global membrane bioreactors market in terms of market share?
The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region holds the largest market share in the global membrane bioreactors market, accounting for over 39% in 2022.
What are the emerging trends in the membrane bioreactors market?
The membrane bioreactors market is witnessing several rising trends, including an increasing demand for high-quality effluents, a growing number of MBR installations fueled by urbanization, and advancements in membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology.