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Membranes in Separations: Commercial Advances in Refinery, Petrochemical/Chemical and Industrial Gases Applications

“Membranes in Separations:
Commercial Advances in Refinery, Petrochemical/Chemical and Industrial Gases Applications”

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Numerous and significant advances in membranes have led to competitive replacements for incumbent technologies in an increasing number of applications at large scales. The companies funding/conducting the RD&D include major end users, so implementation is taking place more broadly and in higher volumes of operation. Now is an opportune time for industry participants to re-assess the progress, evaluate opportunities and consider the competitive implications on their operations and strategies going forward!

TCGR’s recently completed assessment is an integrated, strategic technical and commercial analysis comparing the developments to current industrial state-of-the-art alternatives (e.g., distillation, ab/adsorption, cryogenics) which provides insights regarding the competitive and strategic implications on the developers/partners as well as end user industries.

A selection of study highlights include:

  • Short term (<5 years) opportunities for membranes exist in retrofitting for H2 management within refineries, reformers, ethylene (polymer and crackers) and ammonia plants to improve energy efficiency/off-gases management as well as in CO2 natural gas (and shale gas) purification removal systems; longer-term opportunities include olefin/paraffin separation and CO2 capture from industrial flue gases.
  • Membranes represent a specialty, high growth industry, but one characterized by very specific applications/technology requirements; competitors have developed into sub-market groupings who, as they grow and consolidate, will become larger companies able to serve broader industry segments, a trend worth noting.
  • Increasingly, membrane systems are becoming the choice for retrofit applications, where skid mounted units can expand capacity, or improve product yield and quality at a fraction of the CAPEX costs of added new units, or expanding additional reactor capacities.
  • Although in its infancy (in pilot plant demonstration), olefin/paraffin separations represent a huge untapped application in the longer term (5-10 years); on the lower growth end is the well-established smaller plant N2 separations segment; this is contrasted by the H2 process recovery market which has significant expansion potential.
  • Among the largest regional growth areas over the next 5-10 years are the Asia/Pacific and China, both in water/wastewater and in plant retrofit for membrane systems in the refining and petrochemical/chemical industries.

A table summarizes the characteristics of commercial and technical progress for membranes in separations:

Market Characteristics for Membranes in Separation

Augmenting the value of the study to end users, the industry’s leading organizations and experts helped to shape the scope and content of TCGR’s study. In their role as “charter” subscribers, these international membrane developers/producers and end users provided their prioritized inputs into the topics to be addressed, the areas to be emphasized, and the focal points for opportunity assessment. Benefit from their perspectives and subscribe today!

Topics included are:

  • Membrane Market Size/Growth, including Commercialization Status
  • Applications in Gas, Liquid and Reactive Separation
    • H2, olefin-paraffin, air, natural gas/CO2, etc.
    • Refinery streams, aromatics, biofuels, lubes, solvents, wastewater
  • Advances by Membrane Type, Developer
    • Nonporous membranes
    • Porous membranes
    • Facilitated transport membranes
    • Reactive membranes
    • Membrane modules
  • Strategic Analysis and Competitive Implications

For those that understand and appreciate this study undertaking, you will know how important and critically timely this evaluation is!  With energy/production costs playing a critical role in competitiveness, and product performance/capabilities defining differentiation between players, the next several years are certain to be telling. Thus, TCGR’s study – a technical and commercial assessment – is warranted.

The added value TCGR provides is real world operating expertise on how to improve on these examples, from experienced Dialog Group® active industry consultants. TCGR is utilizing numerous experienced membrane and separation technology and commercial experts from industry to assist us to provide insights beyond what other sources that do not have the reach and industrial experience can provide.

Additional information, including the study presentation, the report’s actual Table of Contents (as shaped by the “charter” subscribers) and the Order Form, can be downloaded below. For additional study details or to subscribe, please contact John J. Murphy at +1.215.628.4447 or John.J.Murphy@catalystgrp.com.

The Catalyst Group Resources (TCGR), a member of The Catalyst Group, is dedicated to monitoring and analyzing technical and commercial developments in catalysis as they apply to the global refining, petrochemical, fine/specialty chemical, pharmaceutical, polymer/elastomer and environmental industries.

Download PDF:
Presentation – Membranes in Separations (November 2016)