Nanofiltration is the recent advancement in the membrane filtration process for surface water filtration and fresh groundwater filtration process. This type of filtration helps in water softening and removal of disinfection from water. This type of membrane filtration method employs nanometer-sized cylindrical through-pores that pass through the membrane at 90°. The pore-size ranges from 1 to 10 nanometers.
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These nanofiltration membranes are made from polymer-based thin films. The most commonly used polymeric material is polyethylene terephthalate. Sometimes, aluminum-based membranes are also used for nano-filtration applications. Polymeric nanofiltration membranes nano-filters are manufactured by bombarding a polymer thin film with high energy particles. The nanofiltration membranes have applications in a wide range of end-use industries such as chemicals, oil & gas, petroleum, personal care, and pharmaceuticals & medical.
Nanofiltration membranes offer many advantages over traditional membranes. A key advantage of these mambranes is during the process of retaining calcium and magnesium ions in water softening application, as used in ion-exchangers. Another major advantage of nanofiltration membranes is performing gentle molecular separation. These properties makes the nano-filtration membrane apt for the water-treatment and pharmaceutical sectors. Therefore, the increase in demand for potable water and stringent government regulations associated with water pollution are key drivers for the rise in demand for nanotechnology membranes. A key disadvantage of nanofiltration technology is the high cost and maintenance of the membranes. Repairs and replacement of these membranes is dependent on total dissolved solids, flow rate, and components of the feed.
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As nanofiltration membranes are used in a wide range of applications, the applications can be segmented into end-use industries such as water treatment, food & beverage, chemicals, petrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals & medical. The water treatment segment holds a significant share of the nanofiltration membrane market. The pharmaceuticals & medical segment is anticipated to expand at an impressive CAGR during the forecast period. This is majorly due to the expansion of the biopharmaceutical sector. Nanofiltration membranes are widely employed across the dairy industry for demineralization and lactose concentration. Rising demand for dairy products in emerging nations is anticipated to drive the nanofiltration membrane market in Asia Pacific and Latin America.
In terms of geography, the global nanofiltration membranes market can be segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The nanofiltration membrane market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand notably during the forecast period due to significant expansion of the chemical industry in countries such as China, India, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. North America and Europe dominate the global nanofiltration membrane market.
This is due to the presence of advanced technologies and continued research & development activities in the field of nano-technology. Latin America is anticipated to offer high growth opportunities for the nano-filtration membranes market, due to the considerable expansion of the pharmaceutical & medical industry in the region. Middle East & Africa also holds a significant share of the nanofiltration membrane market. Purification of gas condensates is a major application sector of nanofiltration membranes in the region.
The global nano-filtration membrane market is marginally consolidated, with the U.S. and China being prominent manufacturers of nanofiltration membranes. However, there are several other manufacturers around the world. Key players operating in the nano-filtration membranes market include Hydranautics – A Nitto Group Company, Synder Filtration, Inc., Koch Membrane Systems Inc., Argonide Advanced Water Filtration Systems, The Dow Chemical Company, Pall Corporation, and Applied Membranes Inc.