The increasing need to remove carbon dioxide from various gases and cost effectiveness of membrane separation is driving its demand. Gas separation membranes market size is forecast to reach $1,407.9 million by 2025, after growing at a CAGR of 6.8% during 2020-2025.

The gas separation membrane market is growing at a significant rate during the forecast period, owning to the growing need for CO2 removal from various gases including natural gas, biogas and so on, and cost-effectiveness of membranes. Carbon dioxide falls under the category of acid gases and is found in high levels in gasses such as natural gas and biogas. It becomes highly corrosive when combined with water and corrodes pipelines and equipment. It also reduces the heating value of natural gas and pipeline capacity. In liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, carbon dioxide must be removed to prevent freezing in low-temperature chillers. Thus, the removal of carbon dioxide is an important separation process for better transmission and processing of natural gas. A wide variety of gas removal technologies are available, such as amine guard process, Benfield process, pressure swing adsorption, cryogenic process thermal swing adsorption, and membranes. However, gas separation membrane technology is increasingly used, as it is economical and enables a significant amount of transmission of natural gas. It has many advantages such as energy efficiency with low capital investment, low operation and maintenance cost, simplicity and ease of installation, low weight, and space requirement with high process flexibility. Therefore, these factors are driving gas separation membranes demand for carbon dioxide removal.

In addition, the growing use of separation membrane for the recovery of carbon dioxide from associated gas during oil production is also driving gas separation membranes demand. For instance, in March 2019, the NGK INSULATORS, LTD., announced the use of DDR-type zeolite membrane in Demonstration Test for CO2 Recovery from Associated Gas during Oil Production. However, the emergence of COVID-19 is limiting gas separation membranes market growth, as most of the countries have issued “stay at home guidance” i.e., lockdown. Because of which operations of various industries including oil and gas, electronics, and others have stopped. Thus, restraining gas separation membrane market growth.

APAC holds a major share of the gas separation membrane market, owning to expanding oil and gas sector in the region. According to the National Energy Association (NEA), China’s natural gas consumption rose by about 10% to 310 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2019. Additionally, China’s Academy of Engineering forecasted that China’s shale gas output could reach 280 bcm, or 23% of the country’s total gas output, by 2035. In December 2018, the India’s minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas announced to build an estimated 5,000 compressed biogas (CBG) plants across the country by 2023. Furthermore, According to trade map total amount of natural gas imported by Japan in 2019 was 77.32 million tones accounting for $39.94 million. Therefore, the robust growth in the oil and gas industry is driving the gas separation membrane market in the region.

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Gas separation membrane Market Growth Drivers:

Advances in high permeability polymer-based membrane materials for CO2 separations:

Polymeric membranes can be used for the energy-efficient and low-cost gas separation. However, their inability to resist high temperatures limits their use in certain industries. Some polymer membranes can be operated at some levels of the unpleasant environments, but the energy- and cost-efficiencies are offset by the necessity to severely cool hot streams. In many cases, such implementation is impossible or altogether impractical. Therefore, numerous studies have been focused on modifying polymers to create synthetic polymeric membranes which survive at high temperatures. Polymer scientists introduced many thermally stable polymers mostly based on carbocyclic and heterocyclic aromatic polymers, which exhibit enhanced thermal stability. Membrane processes have evolved as a competitive approach in CO2 separations compared with absorption and adsorption processes, due to their inherent attributes such as energy-saving and continuous operation. 

High permeability membrane materials are crucial to efficient membrane processes. Among existing membrane materials for CO2 separations, polymer-based materials have some intrinsic advantages such as good processability, low price, and a readily available variety of materials. In recent years, enormous research effort has been devoted to the use of membrane technology for CO2 separations from diverse sources such as flue gas (mainly N2), natural gas (mainly CH4) and syngas (mainly H2). Polymer-based membrane materials occupy the vast majority of all the membrane materials. For large-scale CO2 separations, polymer-based membrane materials with high CO2 permeability and good CO2/gas selectivity are required. Therefore, the advances in high permeability polymer-based membrane materials for CO2 separations is influencing gas separation membrane market growth.

Research & Development:

In the early stage of membrane technology development in gas separation, the utilization of polymeric membranes has gained attention due to their robustness and ease of fabrication. However, the performance of polymeric membranes is limited by the trade-off between permeability and selectivity. R&D activities in inorganic membranes (ceramic, silica glass, and zeolites) have been trending in recent years. However, the costs involved in processing these membranes are three times more than that of polymeric membranes. Meanwhile, the inorganic membrane is capable to exhibit great enhancement in separation performance but unfortunately, its fabrication process is hard and costly. Thus, the development of mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) by incorporating inorganic fillers into the polymer matrix has become a potential alternative to overcome the limitations of polymeric and inorganic membranes in gas separation. Mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) are considered a new-generation membrane for gas purification applications and have become a focus for research and development in both academic and industrial interests due to their unique properties combining inherent characteristics of polymer and inorganic fillers. End-users prefer durable membrane materials having higher selectivity and permeability at lower costs owing to the economic competitiveness and challenges pertaining to extreme environments under which gas separating membranes function. In view of this, mixed matrix membranes are being developed to provide an alternative cost-effective membrane that combines homogeneously interpenetrating polymeric matrices for ease of processability and inorganic particle for high permeability and selectivity. These membranes are developed by mixing polymeric materials with zeolites or other molecular sieving media. These hybrid materials also offer the advantage of low cost and enhanced mechanical properties in comparison to typical inorganic membranes. Nevertheless, the fabrication of defect-free MMMs with improved separation performance and without compromising mechanical and thermal stability is extremely difficult and challenging. These membranes are still in the development stage and are yet to be commercialized. The future outlook to advance the performance of MMMs in gas separation especially for CO2/CH4 separation was highlighted.

The Major Players in this Market Include

The major companies in the gas separation membrane market include UBE Industries Ltd, Air Liquide Advanced Separations LLC, Air Products and Chemicals Inc., Parker-Hannifin Corporation, Schlumberger Ltd, Evonik Industries AG., Atlas Copco AB, Honeywell Uop LLC., Fujifilm Manufacturing Europe B.V., among others. In 2019, Atlas Copco AB launched three compact, low-cost, low-flow membrane nitrogen generators.

In 2018, Evonik Industries AG, launched SEPURAN NG membrane for efficient natural gas processing. SEPURAN NG is a hollow-fiber membrane, which is based on a high-performance plastic that can withstand extreme pressure and temperatures. The main focus of the key companies are centered towards product launch in different locations, thus enhancing their product portfolios for various end-use industry. The continuous developments in the gas separation membrane are the major factors set to buoy the gas separation membrane market during 2020-2025.

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