The Lessons of History

I have been involved in membranes since starting work in 1981 at BP Research. For the first few years, membrane filtration made no impact in water treatment. However, the efforts of Memcor, Aquasource, and Xflow meant that by the end of the decade, there were murmurings about whether membranes could possibly have a future in producing potable water. It took another 10 years, but eventually it happened, and 1997 saw the birth of the modern membrane water industry.

It must be my age, but with advancing years, I have become fascinated by my roots, like many before me. In a professional context, this has led me to gather historic reference lists. My excuse has been that if you have a comprehensive set of these lists, and they are accurate nearly up to the current moment, analysis of the trends allows you to predict market value and growth, and enables you to understand the characteristics of the market. The trend above clearly shows the initial period of exponential growth and the dramatic effect of the financial crisis. Perhaps Covid19 will result in another step change? However, I have to be honest and say that the original data going back to the start of the market is purely of academic interest.

Imagine my delight when I was approached by Paul O’Callaghan of BlueTech Research to find out about how rapidly the early UF market developed. Paul will soon be completing a PhD to look at the speed of new technology adoption in the water market and was interested to look at the UF drinking water market as one of his examples.

My consolidated reference lists provided the perfect source data for this analysis. It enables you to see the development of the market in terms of number of references, countries of adoption, and installed capacity (hence market value). Watch this space to see how the analysis tells us whether UF qualifies as a true innovative technology in the water market. I am encouraged to keep collecting the data to show the impact of new technology developments such as ceramics and new market trends.

Examining UF market developments normally gets an airing at the BlueTech Forum which takes place this week on Thursday 4th June at 0830 PST in a truncated virtual form due to Covid19, BlueTech Forum: Connect.