On October 19, Sinochem International held a groundbreaking ceremony for its reverse osmosis (RO) membrane plant with an annual production of 220,000 in Xiangshan, Ningbo. After the new plant is put into production next year, it will break up the monopoly by foreign companies in China's high-end membrane market and enhance China's core competitiveness in RO membrane materials across the world.
Sinochem International’s high-performance RO membrane plant plans to use 46.67 hectare of land, with an investment of nearly RMB 1 billion in Phase I to construct RO membrane production lines with an annual production capacity of 7.2 million square meters in Xiangshan. The first phase is expected to be completed and put into operation by the end of 2020, with an annual yield of up to 220,000 8-inch RO membranes. The portfolio ranging from brackish water membranes, fouling resistance membranes, to ultra-high pressure membranes, ultra-low pressure membranes, and seawater desalination membranes will be applied to the treatment of industrial ultrapure water, industrial sewage, and drinking water.
Liu Hongsheng, General Manager of Sinochem International, said that the opening of the Xiangshan plant marks Sinochem International's steady progressing in the sector of high-performance membrane materials. The project aims to produce the best RO membranes and other membrane products in China, and unblock the existing bottleneck, allowing Chinese companies to compete with multinational peers in the field of membrane materials.
Membrane materials are widely used in water resources, traditional industries, environment, energy, chemical, and other industries, which indicates a large domestic demand. As a specialty separation membrane material, RO membrane comes with a number of advantages such as low cost, low energy consumption, high separation efficiency, advanced technology and extensive application, which makes it an optimal solution to the treatment of industrial wastewater and the recycling of reclaimed water in petrochemical, coal chemical, fine chemical, non-ferrous metal smelting, and many other applications; however, the existing market for RO membranes is dominated by foreign companies. To break their monopoly in the field of high-end membranes, obtain the core technology of developing strategic new materials, and accelerate the localization of high-performance membranes, Sinochem International will continue to focus on the R&D, production, and application of high-performance membrane materials.
"China's membrane industry is now at a stage full of strategic opportunities. The new plant will be home to the world's most automated and fastest RO membrane production lines. Upon completion, it is expected to meet nearly 10% of the domestic demand and accelerate the localization of RO membranes," said Zhu Jianjun, General Manager of Sinochem International Membrane Technology Division.
According to Zhu Jianjun, in November 2018, Sinochem International and Ningbo Xiangshan County People's Government entered into an investment agreement worth RMB 3.5 billion, intending to build a membrane material production base and a membrane R&D and innovation center in Xiangshan Economic Development Zone. Starting from RO membranes, Sinochem International will gradually expand its operation in other high-performance membranes, such as degassing membranes, nanofiltration membranes, and hollow fiber membranes, and then integrate them into a Sinochem membrane material industry platform, and build up Sinochem membranes as a renowned brand, driving the upgrade of China's premium membrane materials industry.