GVR Report cover Membrane Bioreactor Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Membrane Bioreactor Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Hollow Fiber, Flat Sheet, Multi-tubular), By Configuration, By Application, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028

  • Report ID: GVR-1-68038-889-3
  • Number of Pages: 137
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)

Report Overview

The global membrane bioreactor market size was estimated at USD 3.0 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.9% from 2021 to 2028. Rising demand for membrane bioreactors (MBR) owing to their high-quality solid separation and low carbon footprint is expected to drive the market for membrane bioreactors over the forecast period.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of the countries globally were under strict lockdown which increased the municipal waste thereby increasing the demand for waste management. Furthermore, as the world has started returning to normalcy due to vaccine rollouts and the infusion of economic stimulus packages, the demand for membrane bioreactors is expected to witness growth as the government of various countries is planning to invest in municipal infrastructure to address municipal waste.

U.S. membrane bioreactor market size, by product, 2018 - 2028 (USD Million)

The pandemic has compelled the membrane bioreactor manufacturers to use technology to ensure competitive advantage. Manufacturers are likely to use robust and innovative technologies in MBR to augment the potential risk of COVID-19 on the environment and its impact on water bodies. This, in turn, is anticipated to encourage the municipalities to keep a check on the outbreak of COVID-19 in the nearby communities.

The growing volume of wastewater generated by houses, hotels, offices, and institutions is anticipated to have a positive impact on the water treatment market. Furthermore, increased industrial wastewater from various industries such as beverage and beer firms, sugar processing, metal processing, and photofinishing is expected to boost the growth of the market for membrane bioreactors over the forecast period.

The U.S. EPA has implemented numerous regulations aimed at ensuring water treatment services at the manufacturing and municipal level. These regulators are focused on reducing the usage of synthetically derived chemicals in water treatment applications. Furthermore, the growing importance of membrane separation technology in the manufacturing sector due to increasing R&D towards microfiltration and ultrafiltration is expected to boost the market growth.

The high operational costs of membrane bioreactor plants contribute significantly to the annual costs. The operation, maintenance, and monitoring of a waste treatment plant amount to up to 50% of the annual costs for wastewater systems. This factor is expected to create an entry barrier for new players, which is expected to restrain the growth of the market over the forecast period.

Membrane Bioreactor Market Trends

Membrane bioreactor is an advanced treatment system that integrates the conventional biological treatment processes such as the activated sludge process with membrane filtration in order to provide more effective removal of organic & suspended solids. The filtration of solid-liquid is achieved by using microfiltration or ultrafiltration membranes. These membranes are used for the separation for various components of the fluids based on their size or electric charge. Flat sheet, hollow fiber, and multi-tubular are some of the membrane configurations generally used in a membrane bioreactor.

Membrane bioreactors eliminate the sedimentation and filtration processes owing to which the plant footprint is reduced considerably in addition to the biological process can be operated at a higher liquor concentration which allow advanced level filtration and deliver high quality effluent that is suitable for non-potable reuse applications. They are widely used in municipal and industrial wastewater treatment applications including food, beverage, dairy, pulp & paper, chemical processing, oil & gas, and produced water among others.

Increasing demand for high capacity water treatment coupled with the aging infrastructure has boosted the demand for compact, efficient, and cost-effective solutions. In addition, there is a growing demand for integrated systems that can accommodate frequent changes in the feed water, which are easy to install and operate. Moreover, stringent regulations governing wastewater discharges and drinking water have necessitated several businesses to either build new treatment plants or upgrade the existing ones which is projected to boost the demand for membrane bioreactors over the forecast period

Increasing adoption of environment-friendly water management technologies in sewage and industrial sector will propel industry expansion over the forecast period. Increasing amount of industrial waste owing to rising pharmaceutical, oil & gas, textile, construction, food & beverages and pulp & paper sector across the globe is expected to augment the membrane bioreactor market growth over the forecast period.

The membrane bioreactor market witnesses the development of advanced components such as membranes, carbon steel tanks, and filters that operate for a longer duration at high operational efficiencies. In addition, the development of advanced components for the treatment of effluents in manufacturing and oil & gas industry is expected to drive the market growth over the forecast period.

Growing water demand as a result of increasing population across nations such as India, China, Brazil, and Mexico will increase adoption of membrane bioreactor for wastewater treatment. However, high initial investment and operational cost is expected to hinder the product growth over the forecast period. Moreover, increasing occurrence of fouling in the membrane bioreactor is likely to restrain market expansion. 

Product Insights

The hollow fiber segment led the market for membrane bioreactors and accounted for 66.4% of the revenue share in 2020, on account of lower operational and maintenance costs than multitubular and flat sheet membrane bioreactors. The market for hollow fiber membranes is expected to witness growth over the forecast period on account of the rising product adoption in large-scale municipal facilities.

The growing use of hollow fiber membranes in municipal and industrial applications owing to their high productivity per volume unit and high packaging density is expected to drive the demand for MBR. Furthermore, the growing population coupled with internal migration to urban areas in India, China, Mexico, Turkey, and Bangladesh are likely to increase applications in municipal areas, thereby boosting the demand for MBR over the forecast period.

The flat sheet segment is estimated to witness a CAGR of 9.6% in the market for membrane bioreactors over the forecast period, owing to increased adoption in medium-scale industrial wastewater treatment systems. Furthermore, the rising demand for membrane bioreactors in the food and beverage sector is attributed to their high solid loading and good hydraulic flow behavior capabilities.

Flat sheet membranes are flat, primarily rectangular in shape, and are intended to be immersed in the membrane tank and scoured with air in order to keep the sludge flowing through the membrane channels. These membranes are utilized for submerged MBRs in both industrial and municipal applications, where they are occasionally preferred for smaller installations owing to their ease of operation.

Configuration Insights

The submerged membrane bioreactors segment led the market for membrane bioreactors and accounted for 75.5% of the revenue share in 2020, owing to its lower energy usage, higher biodegradation efficiency, and lower fouling rate when compared to side stream membrane bioreactors. Submerged membrane bioreactors are becoming more popular in the industrial sector owing to their high effluent quality and reduced sludge production.

The submerged MBR has a simpler configuration since it requires less equipment. In addition, to controlling membrane fouling, the equipment provides oxygen to the biological process. The most significant advantage of a submerged system over a side-stream layout is energy savings through coarse bubble aeration rather than the high-rate recirculation pump used in side stream MBRs.

The side stream segment is expected to expand at a CAGR of 7.9% in the market for membrane bioreactors over the forecast period owing to its superior physical strength, more adaptable hydraulic loading, and cross-flow velocity control. They are mostly used in wastewater treatment in industrial plants where influent flow rate and composition vary greatly, with challenging operational conditions.

A side stream MBR, is one in which the membrane module is located outside the aeration tank. The sludge is then pumped to the membrane module, where it is filtered through the membrane using cross-flow filtration. The permeate is pumped out, and the extra flow is cycled to the aeration tank.

Application Insights

The municipal segment led the market for membrane bioreactors and accounted for 84.1% of the global revenue share in 2020. The water and wastewater treatment equipment market is projected to foresee tremendous gains in municipal sectors of developing markets including Turkey, China, India, Thailand, and Bangladesh as a result of increasing urban population and government support to promote infrastructure development, which is projected to benefit the MBR market growth.

Global membrane bioreactor market share, by application, 2020 (%)

The market is expected to grow exponentially in municipal sectors owing to increasingly severe environmental laws, along with reduced capital for membrane bioreactors installation. Furthermore, the use of Internet of Things (IoT) with the help of sensors and controllers is expected to improve plant efficiency. This also helps in quality monitoring and maintenance of the MBR plants thereby reducing operational costs.

The industrial segment is likely to witness a CAGR of 11.3% over the forecast period as a result of increasing usage of the product in the oil and gas, food and beverages, chemical, and marine sector. Increasing mining spending in Chile, Mexico, and Peru owing to the improved government support to attract foreign investments by companies including Vale, BHP Billiton, and Rio Tinto is expected to propel market size.

The growth of the U.S. and Canada as production hubs for unconventional sources such as tight oil and shale gas is projected to play a critical role in increasing MBR utilization in fracking applications. Furthermore, the installation of new power generation production units in Middle Eastern nations such as Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Iran as a result of favorable investment incentives is likely to enhance market penetration over the forecast period.

Regional Insights

Asia Pacific accounted for the highest market share of 39.8% in terms of revenue in 2020. The Asia Pacific is one of the fastest-growing economies and, therefore, presents wide growth opportunities for the water and wastewater treatment sector. Growing urban and rural population, increasing urbanization, rising foreign investments in the industrial and municipal wastewater management sectors are the main drivers that will propel demand for membrane bioreactor market in the region.

India is considered one of the important market for membrane bioreactors owing to rapid industrialization, population growth and economic growth, which is a driving factor for increasing demand for more reliable supplies of municipal and industrial water. Government initiatives like “Make in India” is likely to grow industrial sector which will fuel the demand for water and wastewater treatment industry resulting increase in consumption of MBR in industrial waste management sector.

Growing economic conditions in South American countries such as Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela are attracting many large companies to set their production units in the region, which is likely to result in high demand for fresh and processed water. To comply with the need for freshwater, governments in the region have begun investments in the water and wastewater treatment sectors. This, in turn, is likely to drive membrane bioreactor for wastewater treatment over the forecast period.

The Middle East & Africa is characterized by the presence of a large number of water and wastewater treatment plants owing to the lack of major freshwater sources. Increasing per-capita consumption of water in the region and a rise in population owing to grown immigration into the region is expected to drive the water and wastewater treatment sector thereby positively impacting the membrane bioreactor market growth over the forecast period.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

The market for membrane bioreactors is highly competitive owing to the presence of both multinational and local manufacturers. Membrane bioreactor manufacturers adopt several strategies including acquisition, collaboration, new product development, and geographical expansion to enhance their market penetration and meet the changing technological demand from various applications industries such as municipal and industrial areas.

For instance, In August 2021, KUBOTA Membrane USA Corporation signed an agreement with Fulton County to supply a 32 million-gal-per-day(MGD)Membrane Bioreactor system for the Big Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Georgia, U.S. This plant will be one of the largest facilities in North America. Some of the prominent players in the membrane bioreactor market include:

  • General Electric Energy LLC

  • Kemira

  • Suez Environnement S.A.

  • Buckman Laboratories

  • Aquatech International Corporation

  • B&P Water Technologies s.r.l.

  • Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

  • CITIC Envirotech Ltd

  • Calgon Carbon Corporation

  • Culligan International Company

  • Danaher Corporation

  • Veolia Environnement S.A.

  • Toray Industries

  • Kubota Corporation

  • MANN+HUMMEL Water & Fluid Solutions

Membrane Bioreactor Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2021

USD 3.2 billion

Revenue forecast in 2028

USD 6.2 billion

Growth Rate

CAGR of 9.9% from 2021 to 2028

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2017 - 2019

Forecast period

2021 - 2028

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million and CAGR from 2021 to 2028

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered

Product, configuration, application, region

Regional scope

North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Central & South America; Middle East & Africa

Country Scope

U.S.; Canada; Mexico; Germany; France; U.K.; Italy; China; India; Japan; South Korea; Brazil; Argentina; Saudi Arabia; South Africa

Key companies profiled

General Electric Energy LLC; Kemira; Suez Environnement S.A.; Buckman Laboratories; AquatechInternational Corporation; Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation; CITIC Envirotech Ltd.; Calgon Carbon Corporation; Culligan International Company; Danaher Corporation; Veolia Environnement S.A.; Toray Industries; Kubota Corporation

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analysts working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional, and segment scope.

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Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2028. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global membrane bioreactor market report on the basis of product, configuration, application, and region:

  • Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Hollow Fiber

    • Flat Sheet

    • Multi-tubular

  • Configuration Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Submerged

    • Side Stream

  • Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Municipal

    • Industrial

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

      • Mexico

    • Europe

      • Germany

      • Italy

      • France

      • U.K.

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • India

      • Japan

      • South Korea

    • Central & South America

      • Brazil

      • Argentina

    • Middle East & Africa

      • Saudi Arabia

      • South Africa

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