Can U.S. suppliers keep emerging Chinese competition at bay?
BOSTON, US — The global membrane bioreactor (MBR) market is set to rebound, with U.S. and Chinese suppliers poised to win the lion’s share of contracts according to Boston-based water market analysts Bluefield Research. Water and wastewater markets in general have been set back by the global economy, but the MBR market is regaining momentum with over 1.6 million cubic meters per day (m3/d) of large-scale MBR capacity in planning.
“Increasingly stringent water discharge limits, especially those protecting sensitive waterways, are prompting a move to MBR technology,” says Bluefield Research analyst Erin Bonney. “MBR systems produce higher quality effluent than conventional wastewater treatment systems.”
Of the 4.2 million m3/d of large-scale MBR capacity installed worldwide, U.S. and Chinese system suppliers– GE Water, Beijing Origin Water, Koch Membrane Systems, Beijing E&E, and Tianjin Motimo– have supplied over 74 percent of the market, according to a new report from Bluefield Research. Bluefield defines large-scale MBR systems as those with a capacity greater than or equal to 30,000 m3/d.
GE Water is the market leader in large-scale MBR systems with nearly a 47 percent global market share. GE Water has strong supply references in the U.S., U.A.E, South Korea, Australia, and France, but has supplied just 61,000 m3/d to the booming Chinese market.
China, spurred by 2008 Olympics build-out and continued urbanization, is the world’s largest MBR wastewater market with over 1.4 million m3/d installed to date and has 730,000 m3/d of additional capacity in the planning stages. Chinese suppliers such as Beijing Origin Water have emerged as the chief threat to GE Water’s global MBR position.
Since 2000, MBR has found traction in the global wastewater treatment market thanks in large part to a 45 percent decline in membrane prices and MBR’s modular design, which can be deployed at space-constrained urban and industrial wastewater facilities. This positive outlook for the MBR industry has sparked vertical integration along the technology’s supply chain, enabling companies to capture greater economies.
“The municipal market will continue to be the primary user of large-scale MBR systems,” says Bluefield’s Bonney, “but high organic loads and waste volumes in petrochemicals, and other industries such as food & beverage and dairy, present further greenfield opportunities.”
Bluefield’s new report, Global Membrane Bioreactor Market: An Emerging Competitive Landscape, is part of the Advanced Water Treatment & Desalination Insight Service, and is the first report of its kind to provide competitive analysis on:
- MBR membrane supplier market share
- MBR system supplier market share
- Consolidation and supply-chain positioning
- Project cost trends.
- Regulatory environments affecting the technology’s deployment
- Analysis on the technology’s 1.6 million m3/d global pipeline