Tsune Katsura, chairman of global membrane company Hydranautics talks to Tom Freyberg about matching supply and demand in a reignited desalination market…
Japanese membrane chairman outlines importance of reuse market
Municipal and industrial water reuse will continue to be big markets for membrane companies as the competition gets tighter on new mega desalination projects.
That’s according to Tsune Katsura, chairman of global membrane company Hydranautics.
At the recent Aquatech China event in Shanghai, Aquatech Global Events sat down with Katsura for a wide-ranging interview on the membrane market, material science developments and the water reuse market. A sample of the interview can be seen in the embedded video.
In the interview, Katsura said: “Desalination continues to be an important market for us. But when competition is too tight in the bigger projects, we migrate towards the high value market, such as energy reuse in the energy and environmental area.”
He added: “When you recycle municipal wastewater into potable water, the energy consumption can be one third compared to seawater desalination. In this area, the anti-fouling technology is so important – we have a good reference in Singapore, as well as Orange County in California.”
Membrane’s dominant four
Hydranautics is the membrane division of the wider, $7 billion polymer material science company, Nitto Denko Corporation in Japan.
The company is one of four who dominant players, also including Toray, LG and Dow (DuPont Water solutions) in the seawater desalination market for plant capacities of more than 50,000 m3/day, according to GWI.
Market share among the major four has changed in recent years, with Hydranautics estimated to now have a 17 per cent share.
Commenting on the emergence of new solutions and research taking advantage of graphene, the chairman adds: “Nitto does have the graphene technology. However, anybody that starts from a material science will lose the game. Anybody who starts with touching the market, developing applications and then applying the new material – those are the winners.”
Nanofiltration product launch
Earlier this year Hydranautics launched a new nanofiltration (NF) range of membrane products.
Called ESNA1-LF/LF2-LD, this is a range of low-fouling NF membranes designed for groundwater treatment for potable applications. According to the company, the “hardness rejection” can be tailored to achieve desired partial softening of low salinity well waters.
The membranes feature an increased flow (10-15 per cent) and rejection while providing the same permeate quality and low fouling characteristics as the traditional ESNA1-LF/LF2-LD membranes.
According to GWI, although NF has mainly been deployed to remove hardness or colour in potable water supplies, technology advancements could open up more applications for tougher-to-treat wastewaters.
The growing issue of micropollutants could also present opportunities for the NF market, the report added.