Global water treatment by membrane filtration from Enschede

Water is our life source. Access to clean and purified water is essential for good health. Membrane filtration, a technological solution, is increasingly used worldwide for the production of drinking water and the cleaning of waste and process water. The Enschede-based company Pentair is an important player in this market, which has not stood still since the company was founded in 1984. New challenges require continuous improvements and innovations.

Pentair helps organisations worldwide with various solutions with their innovative filtration products, services, and technologies. The basic process has stayed the same: membrane filtration purifies a liquid by separating it from unwanted solid particles, almost as small as molecules. However, the market for this type of filtration is continuously expanding while the requirements for the filtration process become increasingly stringent. The impact on the environment and living conditions also has to be minimised.

Innovative challenges

“Improving, refining, and innovating filtration means constantly developing new applications. Filtration needs to be sustainable as well, which adds another challenge. The process needs to be increasingly environmentally friendly”, explains Stefan Koel, who works at Pentair.

“We started using Nanofiltration several years ago, further expanding Pentair’s portfolio alongside Micro and Ultrafiltration. Nanofiltration membranes filter unwanted small particles, such as organic matter and dyes, out of water. We can remove an increasing amount of particles from water, which means we can apply it more and more widely”, he explains. “There is a high demand for (drinking) water in the Netherlands. Membrane filtration can be a solution for this. Our country is leading the way with these techniques. Other issues are at play in other countries, such as the desalination of water.”

Broadened market

Stefan Koel has been working with the company for sixteen years, the last three of which as manager of the Research & Development department. In recent years, he has seen the market broaden from purifying (drinking) water to purifying beer, wine, and dairy. “That requires continuous research and development,” he says. “We have a portfolio of around 20 research projects within R&D currently. The projects run from six months to four years. Recently we have been entering the dairy market more and more. A new market comes with new challenges, for which we must find new solutions.”

Pentair is a unique company; not many companies in the world work with this form of membrane filtration. A lot of research is being done to improve purification techniques using membranes. By universities, for example. The company works with the government and the industry to treat wastewater. “You have to keep developing; otherwise, competitors will overtake you. Expanding to other markets is essential to this”, he says


The importance of a broad portfolio has become painfully clear in recent years. The company from America faced new challenges because of the corona pandemic. The beer consumption declined during this period. This was also the case for Heineken, Pentairs biggest beer customer. “But the demand for pool filtration in America increased simultaneously, as many people started investing money in their homes. This kept everything largely balanced, fortunately.” Pentair also noticed the effects of the war in Ukraine. “We were supplying to Russia as an American company. That has now completely disappeared.”

The demand from the dairy market has increased recently. “We see a lot of opportunities for the filtration of milk. It is a new market for us, in which you must prove that you are better than the traditional method. That takes a lot of time, money, and effort. Something that works on a small scale does not necessarily work well on a large scale as well. But as a research and development department, we like coming up with solutions and trying things out. We won’t be bored in the near future in any case.

About Pentair

High-quality filtration technology based on advanced membranes. That is the core business of Pentair, a company based in Enschede. They help equipment manufacturers, engineering firms, and construction contractors worldwide with the protection of water, other liquids, and equipment.

Treating water with membrane filtration is suitable for producing drinking water, cleaning and recycling process and wastewater, and various industrial, non-water-related applications in the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical sectors. Pentair X-Flow provides numerous solutions with innovative filtration products, services, and technologies.

Date: 8 June 2023 |

Source of tekst: Stefan Koel, Pentair |

Author: Marloes Neeskens


Marssteden 50
7547 TC Enschede
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