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Resources, Conservation and Recycling 105 (2015) 1–10

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Resources, Conservation and Recycling
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/resconrec

Review

Overview of membrane technology applications for industrial
wastewater treatment in China to increase water supply
Xiang Zheng a,∗ , Zhenxing Zhang b,∗ , Dawei Yu a , Xiaofen Chen a , Rong Cheng a ,
Shang Min a , Jiangquan Wang a , Qingcong Xiao a , Jihua Wang c
a

School of Environment & Natural Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61820, USA
c
FedEx Corporate, Memphis, TN 38125, USA
b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 16 July 2015
Received in revised form
19 September 2015
Accepted 21 September 2015
Keywords:
Membrane technology
Wastewater treatment
Industrial wastewater
Water reuse
China

a b s t r a c t
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.
© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Contents
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Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Industrial wastewater treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Industry sector distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Geographic distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Engineering process features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Outlook of membrane applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Discussions and conclusions and recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

∗ Corresponding authors.
E-mail addresses: zhengxiang7825@hotmail.com (X. Zheng), zzx509@yahoo.com (Z. Zhang).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2015.09.012
0921-3449/© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

.. 2012. . . Wang et al. However. . . Zhang et al. . . . . . . 2013. Conservation and Recycling 105 (2015) 1–10 Acknowledgements . . . Coupled with the industrialization is increasing industrial water use and wastewater discharge. and power generation (Chen. .. Chinese membrane technology market has grown dramatically with annual growth rate of approximate 25%. Much of the treated industrial wastewater is reclaimed and reused. Public environmental awareness has been gradually increasing as the living standard is improving.. 2012). 2012). . 2009. . 2013. 2007. . . . . . . . especially in treating wastewater from petrochemical industry.. (1) It provides contemporary status of the membrane technology applications in industrial wastewater treatment for researchers to identify the need for further research and development. and Vontron Membrane Technology Co.. Presently. . . However. 2010. easy and well-arranged process (Yu et al. The capital and operational cost of membrane technology applications decreased over the years so that extensive applications of the technology are economically feasible (Zheng et al. . 2006. . a national survey and review of membrane technology applications for industrial wastewater treatment is absent. Wang et al. . / Resources. . . 2002. Toray Industries. . . . . 2012). Zheng and Wei. Chinese industrialization in last two decades is unprecedented. . there were over 30 engineering applications of membrane technology (Chen et al. . . . . This study is based on a national survey of membrane applications for industrial wastewater treatment.. . Zheng et al. . .. Reclaimed water is one of the alternative water resources which could assist to increase water supply (Garcia and Pargament. . 2013). . 2009. . . . 2009. . For example. . . . The industrial wastewater discharge in China has increased steadily in the last decades and reached 22. Zheng et al. . 2008). water resources professionals are focused on surface and groundwater sources to provide sustainable and affordable water to citizens and industries and water resources planning and management is often applied to facilitate water supply and development (Nair et al. . . . 10 References .. . . and minimize the effluent pollutant concentration to meet wastewater discharge standards.. . . . . . . . . . These membrane manufacturers include Dow Chemical Company (U. . . . . . . . . . . Nonetheless. The status of membrane technology applications in petrochemical industry has been reported and updated recently (Chen. Wang. . .. . No developing country has ever grown by more than 10% per year without interruption for two decades. . . . . . Thus. . The operational cost for the same size WWTP is about 0. Traditionally. . Zheng et al. . .. Zheng et al.15) per m3 /day. It pollutes environment and waste water resources. . . (3) It assists national and local environmental protection and resources conservation agencies to discern regulations and technical standards to promote – or demote thereof – membrane technology development and applications in China.. . . . Zheng et al. national and local wastewater discharge standards have become increasingly stringent (Xiao et al. . . . 2014). . . . . . . 2007). . Applications of membrane technology in industrial wastewater treatment has increased remarkably. A range of famous membrane manufacturers and suppliers have been promoting membrane technology applications for industrial wastewater treatment in China for years.. 2009b. Effective and efficient industrial wastewater treatment could increase water supply by providing reclaimed water and decrease water pollution by removing contaminants in the wastewater. .S. . The main advantage of membrane technology is that it generates stable water without the addition of chemicals. . . 2009). . 2006. 2014. .. . . 2014). Woongjin Chemical (South Korea). . especially in power generation and steel industries. .2 X. . . Ltd. . .. The total market volume of membrane has reached 30 billion yuan ($4. . . . . . . . . . . .000 m3 /day. .. . .2 billion m3 in 2012. China has to support 22% of world’s population with only 8% of world’s water resources. . . . 2015. . wastewater treatment and reuse has attracted much attention because it will provide water for industry. . These processes are of the same kind in that all employs membrane. . . Zhang et al. . . 2002. Introduction Water supply nowadays increasingly relies on alternative water sources (i. 2014. Yu et al... . . . .7 million m3 of wastewater per day in China. . vast wastewater discharge. . . . Membrane technology is a general term for a range of different separation processes. . . . . . . Guo et al. (2) It generates timely information for membrane manufacturers and membrane plants to understand the social need for membrane technology. . . .. Zheng and Wei. . 2013. . . . . . . . . . This study presents a complete and comprehensive review of the state-of-the-art of membrane technology applications for industrial wastewater treatment in China. . 2013. . 2011). 2014. This is much higher than the other conventional treatment methods. .. 2013). Membrane technology practices in steel industry wastewater treatment has been summarized in (Liu and Yang. . . . There are 580 membrane plants in practice to treat industrial wastewater. . . . 2010). . . 2014). seawater. . . . China is facing water shortages and will be facing this issue in the foreseeable future (Gu et al.. 2014. 2009. . Zheng et al. 2015.9 yuan (US$0. Tian and Zhang. . there are limited literature on comprehensive survey and review of the state-of-the-art of membrane technology applications in industrial wastewater treatment as attentions usually are focused on the engineering process of membrane technology (Nicolaidis and Vyrides. . . . 2001a. Purkait et al. 2008. . . . . When the WWTP capacity reaches 100. . . accounting for about 15% of the world membrane market share. . . . . The annual per capita renewable water resources in China is only 25% of the world average (Cheng et al.. . . 10 1. 2013. . . accounting for 32. and rainwater) in addition to surface and groundwater (Zhang and Balay. . . . . . The need for industrial wastewater treatment in China is of importance due to the three factors: water shortage. Water supply and industry are vital and intertwined components of an urban system (Minne et al. . (2012) performed a survey of membrane technology applications in power generation (Yu et al. . decrease wastewater discharge. The results of the survey are complemented with . . . .. . steel industry. . and increasingly stringent wastewater discharge standards. . . Inc. . . . 2004. Zheng and Wei. . 2009.. (China). . . . . . . . . . . . .).. In the last 15 years. . membrane technology is used for treating 6. Piadeh et al. Hydranautics – a Nitto Group Company (Japan). . . 2008. . . . . . 2010). . Zheng and Wei. . . . . . . Swamy et al. . . . leading separation technology over the past decade (Ordónez 2011. 2009a. a comprehensive and complete investigation of the state-of-the-art of membrane technology applications of industrial wastewater treatment is of critical importance for the following factors. Yu et al. Santasmasas et al. . . . treated wastewater. 2007). . 2007. . . . . Zhang et al. Zhang et al. 2014). . Membrane technology has become a ˜ et al.e. . . . . 2014). .4% of the total wastewater discharge. . (Japan). . the capital cost for the membrane application drops to 1050 yuan (US$169) per m3 /day which is almost the same as other conventional treatment methods. . Taking boiler makeup water as an example.8 billion). . . . Chen et al.000 m3 /day. . . . The Chinese membrane market share will increase over the next decade as it is expected to keep grow with annual rate of about 15% while the global membrane market only grows with 9% annually (Zheng and Wei.. with a relatively low energy use.. Therefore. 2001b.. . . the membrane technology using both UF and RO to treat wastewater originated from power generation industry would approximately require 1800 yuan (US$290) for wastewater of per m3 /day for a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) with the capacity of 10. . . . . . Environment pollution in China especially water pollution is spreading from cities to county side.

13% of all membrane plants are used in other industry. Industrial wastewater treatment The industry classification used in this study is based on the Industrial Classification Standards of China (GB/T4754-2011) issued by National Bureau of Statistics in 2011 (National Bureau of Statistics of the PRC. 1%. membrane technology is primarily applied in power generation. and power generation industrial wastewater. Zhejiang. respectively. primarily petrochemical. For power generation and steel industries. power generation. The national survey shows that totally 580 membrane plants have been successfully applied in practice for different industrial wastewater treatment. and Fujian.9–2. and the other industry which includes the remaining 2-digit industries (Table 1). respectively.9% of treatment capacity using membrane technology. 19% of the plants have capacities between 10. food. which is the highest among the 8 industry groups. power generation. Petrochemical factories are often located in water scarce regions such as northwestern and northern China. Conservation and Recycling 105 (2015) 1–10 published reports and onsite investigations. 2 shows the histogram of various treatment capacities.1% of treatment capacity in petrochemical industry employs membrane technology.7 million m3 /day. The following section of the paper discusses industrial wastewater treatment and membrane technology practices.000 m3 /day. Fig.49. paper. 8%. Fig. there are many more membrane applications in power generation and steel industries. 2002.77. Most industries have similar average individual treatment capacity. reverse osmosis (RO) and membrane bioreactor (MBR) are very capable to treat many pollutants in petrochemical industry wastewater. and 2011 (National Bureau of Statistics of the PRC. 5000 and 500 m3 for petrochemical. power generation. and steel industries. The top 5 provinces of industrial wastewater discharged are Jiangsu. There are 41 classes of industries which are denoted by 2-digit industry codes. the current membrane technology applications for industrial wastewater treatment is relatively advantageous when it reaches certain scale. 2. Fig. 1. paper.000 m3 /day. National and local regulations also incentivize recycle and reuse of water for petrochemical industry. The standards were originally issued in 1984. The individual plant treatment capacities range from 500 to 100.000 m3 /day is considered advantageous. Food industry has the lowest average treatment capacity of 5. and mining accounts about 3% of the total capacity. petrochemical. Based on the features of membrane technology applications and industrial wastewater discharge. As of 2012. mining and textiles. Due to several highly publicized petrochemical factory accidents in the last decade. Guangdong. On average. and steel industries. there are three divisions of industries: mining. / Resources. 2011). and 1. Conclusions and recommendations are provided to conclude the paper. 8. water sources. The total treatment capacity is 6. According to the GB/T4754-2011.000 m3 /day.2 billion m3 of industrial wastewater. The membrane technology treatment capacities in petrochemical. and mining industries have the highest capacities of all treatment facilities. Zheng et al.000 m3 /day. The number of plants with capacity of less than 1000 m3 /day is 54. The total capacity of all treatment facilities is 314. The other industries have 7% of the total treatment capacity. The average individual plant treatment capacity in steel industry is 20. fuel.7 million m3 of wastewater per day. In general. which account for 41%.000 and 20. paper. The remaining 6 industries has a range of 0. 22%. Paper industry has the smallest amount of membrane plants but the average individual plant treatment capacity is the highest with 438. geographic distributions. The study investigates various perspectives of membrane technology applications for industrial wastewater treatment. paper. petrochemical.1% of the total industrial wastewater treatment capacity has involved membrane plants.X. The top 4 wastewater discharge industries are petrochemical. mining.1 million m3 /day and the capacity of all membrane plants is 6. 55% of the 580 plants have treatment capacity between 1000 and 10. 3 3. 1. paper.e. and engineering processes. On contrary. food. Fig. 38%. The outlook of membrane applications based on the aforementioned analyses and broad national social economic planning is discussed. petrochemical industry wastewater discharge standards are much more strictly complied. including the magnitude. petrochemical. Approximately 70% of the plants are employed in these three industries. respectively. textiles. steel. and 3% of all membrane plants. The goal is 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. power generation. Each of textiles. power generation. and steel industries are 2.000 m3 /day or above which is only 5% of the total number of membrane plants. The development of these three industries is closely . steel. Shandong.03 million m3 /day. while the number of large scale membrane plants has been growing steadily recently but still accounting for a very small portion. respectively. Steel. Geographic distribution As discussed in previous sections. This is followed by the analyses of geographic distribution of membrane plants. Industry sector distribution Approximately 80% of membrane plant capacity is in petrochemical. and food industries. which is only 9% of the total number of plants. power generation. From the perspective of the number of membrane plants. The implication of this is that water resources are of extreme importance for this industry. 22%. and steel industries. Based on the performance of the surveyed membrane plants in China. As many membrane technology plants are applied for treating petrochemical.4% of the treatment capacity in mining industry appears to use membrane technology. The wastewater discharges for each of the 8 industries are shown in Fig. manufacturing. a capacity of 10. and steel industries account for the majority as well.000 m3 /day with the average capacity of approximate 12. Table 2 demonstrates the capacities of industrial wastewater treatment facilities and membrane plants and the percentage of treatment capacity of all facilities that applies membrane technology. and utilities (including electricity. Furthermore. the majority of membrane plants have medium treatment capacities. and mining grasp 5%. food. and 15% of the total capacity. and water supply). 30 plants have capacities of 50. 3 shows the distribution of membrane plant capacities in different industries. 2. i. The characteristics of engineering processes are presented. and were revised sequentially in 1994. these three industries are paid more attention in the study. 4 demonstrates the number of membrane plants in various industries.000 m3 /day. While power generation and steel industries do not discharge as much as wastewater as paper and mining industries. the 2-digit industry codes are clustered to 8 groups in this study. power generation. China discharged 22. The minimum capacities at which the membrane technology is advantageous are 5000.000 m3 /day. Textiles. and steel industries. Then the distribution of the membrane technology practices in different industry sectors is discussed. 2011). and 9% of the membrane plants are used in petrochemical. only 0. 5 shows the individual membrane plant treatment capacity. 4.

and ferrous ore. Hebei.4 X. The spatial distribution of water resources also has substantial impact on membrane technology applications. Shangxi. Ningxiao. The histogram of membrane plant treatment capacity. Industrial wastewater discharge for different industries. nonferrous metals. 45. nonmetal minerals. Zheng et al. beverage. Conservation and Recycling 105 (2015) 1–10 Table 1 Industries classification used in the study. 2. The number of membrane plants for each provinces is shown in Fig. Henan. 6. It can be seen that most of membrane plants are located in northern China including the provinces of Shangdong. Liaoning. and . 1. crude petroleum. 32–43. 24. Shanxi. 23. The need for industrial wastewater treatment and reuse is more pressing for water scarce regions than for water rich regions. Inner Mongolia. Fig. Generally speaking. ferrous metals. Industry class 2-Digit industry code Description Mining 06–13 Mining of coal. / Resources. crude petroleum and natural gas. 30. 2013). 46 Other industries Fig. crude petroleum. and/or ferrous ore appear to have much more membrane applications for treating industry wastewater. and others Food 14 15 16 Manufacture of food products Manufacture of wine. related to the geographic distribution of coal. the water scarce provinces with rich coal. and tea Manufacture of tobacco products Textiles 17 18 Manufacture of textiles Manufacture of apparel Paper 22 Manufacture of paper and paper products Petrochemical 25 26 27 28 29 Petroleum products Manufacture of chemicals and chemical products Manufacture of medical and pharmaceutical products Manufacture of chemical fibers Manufacture of rubber and plastic products Steel 31 Smelting of ferrous metals Power generation 44 Electricity and heat generation and supply Other 19–21. Data from (Wen and Liu.

20 0.1 2.4 2.1 2.1 6.77 1. 3.9 0. Conservation and Recycling 105 (2015) 1–10 5 Fig.5 23.7 8. Fig. 2013). Membrane plant treatment capacities for different industries. The average membrane plant treatment capacities for different industries.1 .2 1.17 0.9 11.9 27.6 314. 45 38 Capacity (thousand m3/d) 40 35 30 25 20 20 15 12 11 9 9 10 7 5 5 PetroPower chemical generaon Steel Texles Paper Food Mining Other Fig.X.1 2.49 1.5 67.7 95. The number of membrane plants applied in different industries. 4. Zheng et al. / Resources.03 0.4 0.29 0. Capacity of all treatment facilities (million m3 /d) Capacity of membrane plants (million m3 /d) Percentage of capacity using membrane plants (%) 34.23 0.9 46.49 6. Table 2 Treatment capacities of industrial wastewater treatment facilities and membrane plants.1 2.9 2. 5. Petrochemical Power generation Steel Textiles Paper Food Mining Other Total Data from (Wen and Liu.

In southern China. Jiangshu. Liaoning. 7. 6. accounting for 7% and 6% of the national total. The membrane plant treatment capacity by provinces (1000 m3 /day). These 12 provinces constructed 73% of national total membrane plants. Guangdong has applied 47 membrane plants which is about 8% of the national total. Inner Mongolia. Hebei. Shanxi. . Primary treatment capacities are located in northern China such as Shangdong. The capacity of membrane applications for each provinces are shown in Fig. Ningxiao. 53% of the membrane plants are located within these 9 provinces. The number of membrane plant by provinces. and Tianjing. / Resources. Conservation and Recycling 105 (2015) 1–10 Fig. Guangdong. respectively. Zheng et al. Shanxi. 58% of the national treatment capacity is within these 9 provinces. The 9 northern provinces plus the 3 southern provinces account for 79% of the national treatment capacity. Tianjing. Fig. Henan.6 X. Jiangshu and Zhenjian are the other two southern provinces that constructed many membrane plants. and Zhejiang account for 21% of the national total treatment capacity. 7.

MBR is the combination .0001 ␮m to 0. Membrane plant treatment capacity distribution in power generation industry. Shangdong. ultrafiltration (UF). the method is refereed as single RO. For power generation industry. UF is cable to filter suspended solids and microbe so that RO membrane is protected from these pollutants. It the permeate passes two RO membranes. For the number of membrane plants. The disadvantage of RO is that it requires substantial pretreatment. accounting 14%. respectively. Ningxiao. If the permeate only pass one RO membrane. The widely used membrane separation technologies in industrial wastewater treatment include RO. 9. accounting 26% of the total treatment capacity. 5. and Guandong have the most treatment capacities.1 ␮m. Most of the top 10 provinces are located in northern China with rich coal and crude petroleum resources but without rich water resources (Fig.001 ␮m. 11. RO membrane manufacturing is standardized and the operation is very stable. the method is defined as double RO. Hebei is the top user of membrane technology. Fig. The top 10 provinces account for 72% of the national total treatment capacity in petrochemical industry. Pore size of UF is between 0. Liaoning is third biggest user and has 3 Fig. The facility with UF pretreatment will use much less area and the quality of generated water is very stable. Membrane plant treatment capacity distribution in petrochemical industry. respectively. / Resources. and 9%. Zheng et al. 8.01 ␮m and 0. For steel industry. 10). pretreatment and post-treatment are examined to explore the engineering process of membrane applications herein. Solutes of high molecular weight are retained while water and low molecular weight solutes pass through the membrane. Shangdong province has 38 membrane plants. Engineering process features The membrane units. RO is the finest separation membrane process with pore sizes ranging from 0. Shangdong has also the most treatment capacity in the nation. 10. UF is a variety of membrane filtration to perform separation via a semipermeable membrane by forces like pressure or concentration. Conservation and Recycling 105 (2015) 1–10 7 Fig. 8 and 9. Fig. Zhejiang has only 6 membrane plants treating power generation wastewater but has 13% of the national total treatment capacity. accounting 36% of national treatment capacity with 15 membrane plants. Shanxi is the second biggest user of membrane technology with 4 membrane plants to treat 11% of national steel industry wastewater. For petrochemical industry. The spatial distribution of treatment capacities and membrane plants in petrochemical industry are shown in Figs. 11). 12 and 13). accounting 29% of the national total. Inner Mongolia has 13 membrane plants with 7% of the national treatment capacity (Fig.X. 10%. The number of membrane plants in power generation industry. the 10 provinces have 68% of total membrane plants in petrochemical industry with Shangdong province at the top. and Membrane bioreactor (MBR). The number of membrane plant distribution in petrochemical industry. membrane plants to treat 8% of the national steel industry wastewater (Figs.

Engineering process of membrane technology for petrochemical industry. MBR coupled with RO. 74% of the membrane plants use single RO and 26% of them use double RO. RO technology is used in all the membrane plants in this industry and sometimes double RO technology is used. 45% of membrane plants use RO coupled with MMF. Zheng et al. This may be due to the fact that single RO coupled rapid filtration is the most cost efficient treatment method and still generate water of acceptable quality. Fig. Engineering process of membrane technology for power generation industry. 46% of membrane plants use RO coupled with UF. Fig. Fig. 88% of membrane plants use MBR technology. PF or RF. engineering processes are diversified. This process has high biochemical treatment efficiency with good separation of solids and liquids. 14–16 that the engineering . and precision filtration (PF) are commonly employed with membrane separation process. Rapid filtration usually only uses single or double layers of quartz sand and has a high flow rate. 16. 15. 14 shows the engineering processes composition in petrochemical industry. Only 9% of the membrane plants use RO coupled with both UF and MMF. Engineering process of membrane technology in power generation industry is demonstrated in Fig. It is a common used pretreatment technology to remove dissolved organics. the engineering process features for petrochemical. 15. Precision filtration is usually employed with membrane separation process. RO is employed in 25% of the membrane plants and it is often used with MBR. PF uses tens to hundreds layers of high strength filters such as stainless steel filters to achieve high filtration efficiency. and steel industries are analyzed separately. of a membrane process with a suspended growth bioreactor. Membrane plant treatment capacity distribution in steel industry. Applications in steel industry also focuses on RO. Overall. MBR facility also takes small amount of area to build and could be controlled automatically. RO is either coupled with UF. Engineering process of membrane technology for steel industry. multi-medium filtration (MMF). power generation. The number of membrane plants in steel industry. Fig. MMF employs multi-layer medium for filtration. / Resources. Therefore. It is easy to see from Figs. 42% of the membrane plants uses single RO coupled with rapid filtration. or both. 13. MMF. 75% of membrane plants use MBR alone and 13% uses Fig. 12. MBR is widely used for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. It is easy to see that MBR accounts for the majority membrane process used in the industry. 14. rapid filtration (RF). Conservation and Recycling 105 (2015) 1–10 Fig.8 X. Single or double RO are often employed with UF. Among many pretreatment and post-treatment methods. Due to varying wastewater features of different industries.

Membrane technology has increased the water reuse in steel industry as well. the average water withdrawal was 4. it is expected that membrane technology will play bigger role in the future to treat industrial wastewater. It is noted that the membrane technology has its own disadvantages. Guangdong and Zhejiang are the two southern provinces that have substantial membrane applications. The industry sector distribution of membrane applications.X. 2012). Membrane technology market has grown noticeably with annual growth rate of approximate 25% in the recent 15 years. Hebei. the treatment capacity of membrane plants in steel industry will rise to approximately 2 million m3 /day. water treated by RO is often aimed to be recycled and reused as makeup water or cooling water. Inner Mongolia. Discussions and conclusions and recommendations This study conducted a national survey on the state-of-the-art of membrane technology practice treating industrial wastewater in China. The wastewater originating from different industries have a broad range of different contaminants and thus have different features. Developed countries discharge about 1 m3 wastewater to produce 1 ton of crude steel. Presently. / Resources. Generally. Larger scale of membrane plants is anticipated to be built to provide much treatment capacity and drive down the operation and maintenance cost of membrane plants. The total market volume of membrane technology has reached 30 billion yuan. Membrane technology is of critical importance to provide reliable and sustainable water supply for industry development. Based on the analysis of the state-of-the-art of membrane technology applications for industrial wastewater treatment. the gross domestic product (GDP) in China is anticipated to reach 80 trillion yuan (US$ 12. Membrane technology is primarily applied to treat petrochemical. mainly a range of chemical agents used during the process. The total wastewater discharge is about 1. the wastewater discharge per ton of steel is about 2 m3 in China. accounting for about 15% of the world membrane market share. crude petroleum. The Chinese membrane market share will increase over the next decade as it is expected to keep grow with annual rate of about 15% while the global membrane market only grows with approximately 9% annually (Zheng et al. regulations and incentives shall be adopted to improve membrane technology applications in petrochemicals. It is critically valuable to develop environmental friendly membrane in the future to promote membrane applications in China.and post-treatment. To produce 1 ton of crude steel. Industrial wastewater treatment capacity and efficiency will improve over the foreseeable future. Take steel industry as an example. Zheng et al.7 billion m3 in 5 years. and steel industries’ wastewater in China.5 billion m3 to 53. Meanwhile. With the development of membrane technology. The purpose of the wastewater treatment is varying for different industries. Considering the water use efficiency improvement. Thus. membrane plants treating industrial wastewater have medium treatment capacity.. the water withdrawal by power generation 9 industry decreased from 67. Henan. Outlook of membrane applications After 30 years of fast economic growth. Shanxi. and steel industries.. Thus. This is due to the following facts. the future development of membrane technology and its applications in industrial wastewater treatment in China could be limited by the secondary pollution originated from membrane manufacturing and applications. For example.000 m3 /day. the total water use and wastewater discharge will not increase much and could decrease a bit in the next decade.4 m3 as membrane technology among other advanced treatment methods increased the water use efficiency and effectiveness. it is expected that membrane technology will play a bigger role in industrial wastewater treatment. These 3 industries provide 80% of the national membrane application capacities for industrial wastewater treatment. the engineering processes to treat industrial wastewater will be further advanced and diversified based on water source and quality. power generation. crude steel production will increase by about 25% from 2010 to 2020 according to the national plan (Yuan et al. This is because these provinces have rich coal. and features of engineering process of chemicals. Membrane technology applications to treat wastewater in food. The following conclusions have been reached based on the results of the national survey.9 trillion) in 2020 which doubles the GDP in 2010 (Hu. These chemicals could be very detrimental to environment when it is discharged. Conservation and Recycling 105 (2015) 1–10 process in different industries are varying. it appears that membrane technology application for industrial wastewater treatment in China has improved the efficiency of industrial water use and thus lessened industrial water demand from surface or groundwater sources. it reduces industrial water demand on surface and groundwater sources and lessens environmental pressure by releasing less wastewater to environment. With the robust economic development and industrialization in China in the foreseeable future and the advancement of membrane technology and engineering practices. Large scale membrane plants have been built recently but still account for a small portion of the national total. 55% of the membrane plants have treatment capacity between 1000 and 20. 7. and steel industries are analyzed based on the results of the national survey. This is partially due to the fact that the power generation industry reuse and recycle its water more efficiently while the newly available technology such as membrane technology could treat the wastewater to the level allowing reuse and recycle treated wastewater. 4. Due to this . especially in developing countries. Based on the results of the national survey and industrial water use data. 5. 3.1 m3 and it is decreased to 3. The engineering processes of membrane applications are diversified with membrane units and pre. and pharmaceutical industries shall be encouraged since wastewater generated in these industries are very suited to be treated with membrane technology. and Liaonin. a national regulation which restrict wastewater effluent and promote wastewater reuse by factories of printing industry took effect in 2012. About 8% petrochemical industry wastewater treatment capacity employs membrane technology and only approximately 2% overall industrial wastewater treatment capacity uses membrane technology. as membrane technology application in power generation industry has increased over the last decade. 6. which increased substantially water reuse in Chinese industry and decreased industrial wastewater discharge. 1. With the advancement of membrane technology and dwindling cost of membrane technology applications. printing. water professionals are faced with daunting task of securing water supply and fighting water pollution. the water use efficiency needs to be doubled. geophysical distributions of membrane plants. 2010). 2.4 billion m3 per year and is expected to increase steadily. For example. Membrane technology applications are most located in northern Chinese provinces such as Shangdong. and/or ferrous ore reserve but limited surface water and groundwater resources to support industrialization. 2014.2 billion m3 per year. Treatment capacity using membrane technology has reached 2. The other industries have seen sporadic membrane applications. power generation. 2013). If membrane applications will increase proportionally. For example. To achieve the same water use efficiency as developed countries. power generation.

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