Ceramic filter technology has practical operating advantages and is commercially competitive. Governmental rules and regulations and directives of environmental agencies like Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), National Science Foundation (NSF), European Environmental Agency (EEA) are one of the key drivers of demand for global ceramic filters market. These organizations issue various guidelines relating to water treatment, water disposal and air emissions with the aim to protect the environment. As per the same, industries are required to employ environmentally sustainable practices that include safe disposal of industrial water and control of toxic gas and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emissions.
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While ceramic filters offer several benefits including wide applicability, low operating costs and a long life, they also require huge capital investments, limiting market demand. Price fluctuation is another factor inhibiting growth. Ceramic prices are greatly influenced by crude oil prices. The volatility of crude oil prices adversely affects market growth, operational expenses and profitability of operators in the ceramic filters industry.
Ceramic filters can be segmented into water and air filters based on product type.
Ceramic water filters employ a medium having small pores to eliminate sediment, bacteria, lead, etc. from water thus making it potable. They are generally affordable and versatile and can vary from in-house countertop systems to larger portable systems. Often a silver compound is incorporated into the ceramic as it repels bacterial growth in and on the filter. Another addition may be that of a granular activated carbon core to lower the presence of chlorine and pesticides. Ceramic water filters accounted for more than half of total volumes in 2014.
Ceramic air filters are a popular air purifying technique in which the chemically inert ceramic filter is operated at extremely high temperatures to remove sub micron particles from various gaseous emissions. They remove oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, hydrogen chloride, polychlorinated biphenyls and particulate matter.
Ceramic water filters are used in residences, commercial establishments and industries. Residential applications form a major component owing to advantages like low costs and effectiveness. Rapid industrialization in developing economies like China, Brazil, India and South East Asia is enabling higher industrial application of ceramic water filters in these regions. Typical industrial applications include hot gas filtration, bio-filtration, incineration, oil/water separation, etc.
The Asia-Pacific region contributed more than 35% to the total revenues in 2014 owing to rapid industrialization in nations like India and China, rising demand for clean drinking water in these regions and increasing environmental distress. These regions have higher potential as compared to developed markets of North America and Europe.
Despite certain limitations, global ceramic filters market has strong growth potential. Manufacturers are engaged in research and developmental activities to utilize the ceramic filter technology in novel ways and create better products. There lies scope for expanding distributorship, lowering capital expenditure and increasing scale of industrial operations. The industrial segment will witness the fastest growth in the coming years. There will be high demand for residential use especially in third-world regions like Africa. In fact, Africa and Middle East are likely to experience the highest growth in the near future. The growing environmental awareness is expected to augment global demand for ceramic air filters and the market is expected to exceed $2 billion by 2022. Ceramic water filters are expected to benefit from the worldwide growth in waste water treatment systems.
There exist several manufacturers and consumers of ceramic filters across various regions. Key market players are Doulton Ceramics, Glosfume Ltd., Unifrax I LLC, Ceramic Filters Company Inc., 3M, Veolia, Tri-Mer Corporation, Global Water Ceramic Filters Manufacture Corporation, Pall Corporation, and Anguil Environmental Systems Inc., among others. Operators are aiming to expand their offerings and production capacity to meet rising market demands especially in emerging economies.
Information Source: Grand View Research