Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) of iMBR

Prices of membranes used for iMBR has come down significantly during the last decade. Currently, it is still coming down, but the price decline is not as fast as before. Though prices vary widely depending on volume of order, freighting method, geographical area, market situation at the time of order, manufacturer’s marketing strategy, etc, but unit membrane price of membranes of first tier membrane suppliers for large scale municipal MBR project before shipping, handling, and tax are approximately:

– $40 – $60/m2 including cassette frames in North America

40 – 60/m2 including cassette frames in Europe

Table 1 summarizes approximate market size and price of membranes for dialysis, RO, water filtration, MBR, and gas separation applications. In fact, one publicly available document from a local government in northeastern US accurately support the MBR membrane price in the table. In comparison, the price of replacement membranes in small quantity in New Zealand is reported US$140-160/m2 (Mason, 2010).

Table 1. Approximate market size and price of membranes for various applications (Cote, 2010)

As a consequence of low membrane prices, membrane takes only a very small portion of total plant capital costs. As system size grows, specific membranes costs for unit flow rate decreases below $100/(m3/d) as shown in Fig. 1. Since other specific costs for civil and system engineering are also declining, membrane cost takes around 5% of the total capital costs regardless of the plant size.

© Seong Hoon Yoon