The importance of fluoropolymers for the sector
It is estimated that by 2030 over 30% of EU territory will be impacted by water scarcity, as the EU demand for freshwater is expected to increase by 16%. In addition, the percentage of raw water to be treated before use will drastically increase as a side effect of climate change on the water cycle.
With their unmatched combination of properties, fluoropolymers are an essential component of ultrafiltration (UF), microfiltration (MF), and membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment systems, used to improve water quality in a wide range of applications at different stages of the water cycle. Although several other materials have been tested by membrane manufacturers, fluoropolymers have become the most widely used and most successful material in membrane filtration processes.
Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), which is widely used in the manufacturing of UF, MF and MBR treatment systems, has proven to be a safe membrane material that is very stable, inert, and highly resistant to breakdown in an ambient environment.
Unique properties of fluoropolymers and their benefits for the sector
The unmatched properties of fluoropolymers make them crucial to improve water quality at different stages of the water cycle. They are widely used across several applications, including wastewater treatment and reuse, pre-treatment of seawater, and purification of surface water from undesirable constituents for drinking water and process water production.
Their unique chemical structure leads to best-in-class resistance within polymers, which provides several benefits including:
Durable and effective protection against chemicals, heat and cleaning solutions
Thermal and chemical stability
Strong UV resistance
Low permeation of water & gas diffusion
Enhanced environmental and human safety
Resistance to high pressure while maintaining structural integrity
Fluoropolymers and the future of the industry
Fluoropolymers continue to play a crucial role in helping to drive forward the advances in wastewater treatment technologies, which are essential to achieving the EU’s Green Deal objectives.
Fluoropolymer Membrane Bioreactors (MBR) are notably used in municipal wastewater treatment plants to effectively comply with the EU Urban Wastewater Directive, to which the protection of aquatic ecosystems, bathing water, and groundwater are closely related. Membrane filtration also provides high-quality reclaimed water, helping cities to meet the EU’s Water Reuse Regulation as well as other legislations fostering the recycling of municipal and/or industrial wastewater. The use of fluoropolymers in the water industry allows for:
- Improving water quality.
- Improving lifetime, therefore, maximizing productivity and minimizing costs.
- Ensuring protection against chemicals and hazardous substances.
- Protecting workers, consumers and the environment.