Overview of membrane technology applications for industrial wastewater treatment in China to increase water supply

Xiang Zheng, Zhenxing Zhang, Dawei Yu, Xiaofen Chen, Rong Cheng, Shang Min, Jiangquan Wang, Qingcong Xiao, Jihua Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Treating and reusing industrial wastewater is one of many means to improve water supply capacity, especially within developing countries. In the past 15 years, remarkable progress has been achieved on the commercial applications of membrane technology in China. The membranes demand in China exceeded 30 billion yuan (US$ 4.8 billion) in 2010, amounting for about 15% of the world total. However, the sate-of-the-art of membrane applications in industrial wastewater treatment is not well understood and documented. This study performs a national survey of membrane plants and membrane manufacturers to investigate the characteristics of membrane technology applications for industrial wastewater treatment to increase water supply in China. The data obtained from the survey of membrane plants were confirmed with the survey of membrane manufacturers. It is aimed to provide comprehensive information of membrane technology applications for industrial wastewater treatment in China to guild the future development of the same kind of applications. The results indicate that 6.7 million m3 of wastewater per day (2.4 billion m3 per year) treatment capacity applies membrane technology. 580 membrane plants have been successfully applied in practice for different industrial wastewater treatment. Petrochemical, power generation, and steel industries account for the majority of membrane technology applications, from both of number of membrane plants and treatment capacity. Northern Chinese provinces which are rich in coal, crude petroleum, and ferrous ore but scarce in water resources have seen the most of membrane practices. Water withdrawal for the power generation industry decreased substantially recently, as water use and reuse efficiency has been improved due to wide applications of advanced wastewater treatment methods such as membrane technology. With increasingly stringent emission standards faced by industry and water resources shortages confronted with China, it is expected membrane technology will play key role to address water quality and quantity issues in China. Membrane market in China is expected to grow at a relative high annual rate of approximate 15% for the next decade. It is worthy to note that environmental impacts due to membrane technology applications for industrial wastewater treatment, including membrane pollution and high salinity water, shall be addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • China
  • Industrial wastewater
  • Membrane technology
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Water reuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Overview of membrane technology applications for industrial wastewater treatment in China to increase water supply'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this