American Filtration & Separations Society (AFS)

Is There a Place for Filtration in Our World in 2050?


Our world is changing faster than ever. How does this change affect filtration, and is there room for filtration in our world in 2050? This provocative title suggests that we can expect massive impacts from various megatrends such as new mobility, renewable energy, increasing health awareness and digitalization.

The electrification of the powertrain in vehicles will lead to a massive reduction in filtration needs. Several filter categories, such as oil and fuel filters, will disappear. The rise of renewable energies and the elimination of fuel/carbon/gas-based energy generation will massively reduce the demand for conventional air intake and air pollution control filters. Emission-free and carbon neutral economies combined with ever-stricter environmental legislation will drastically improve air and water quality, thereby reducing the need for filtration in a sizable magnitude.

On the other hand, we see a continuously increasing health awareness in the western world as well as in the fast-growing middle class of emerging countries, leading to an increase in filtration demand for better health protection. This may open new opportunities for improved filtration in clean air and water and healthy food. Last but not least, in 2050 digitalization will finally have penetrated all areas of filtration. All relevant contamination and performance data will be available in real time and feed smart filtration systems. A sizable amount of sales in filtration will be generated with sensors, digital equipment and data.

What are the conclusions? Whether and to what degree all of the aforementioned megatrends will become reality by 2050 is unknown. But without doubt, the world will move in these directions, and the world of filtration will change. This change creates opportunities arising from the future trends and the growing global population. Successful filtration companies in the future need to gain new competencies in digitalization, upgrade their know-how in biological and chemical skills and embrace new business models.

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