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What Lies Ahead for Geomembranes in 2024: A Look into the Future


By GNA Editor | 8th January 2023


Geomembranes, crucial in various industries for their impermeable and protective qualities, are poised to experience significant developments and challenges in 2024. This article delves into the foreseeable trends and shifts that will shape the geomembrane industry throughout the year, touching upon geopolitical influences, emerging applications, and material innovations.

Supply Chain Risks from the Middle East Conflict

One of the most pressing concerns for the geomembrane industry in 2024 is the supply chain risks associated with the ongoing Middle East conflict. In particular geomembranes manufactured in Israel, a significant global supplier, may come under increased supply pressure due to the war in Gaza.

With attempted attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea leading to major shipping lines suspending passage through the area, disruptions in key sea freight routes such as the Suez Canal could have cascading effects on global supply chains. Australian and New Zealand traders, in particular, could face shipping delays, higher costs, and administrative challenges as they divert goods to alternative markets. This adds to existing global shipping pressures and underscores the importance of contingency planning for the geomembrane industry.

The uncertainty surrounding a wider conflict in the Middle East presents a substantial risk. It is challenging to gauge whether the biggest risk is the localized impact of the conflict or the potential for it to escalate and persist indefinitely. Supply chains should consider the possible implications and invest in mitigating controls to address these uncertainties.

New and Emerging Uses for Geomembranes in 2024

Geomembranes will continue to find new and expanding applications in 2024, particularly in lithium mining, pumped hydro schemes, and pit heat storages.

New Developments in Geomembranes for Pit Heat Storages

Large-scale solar thermal systems require substantial heat storage capabilities, especially when contributing more than 25% to a district heating network. Pit thermal energy storage (PTES) has emerged as a cost-effective solution for creating large heat storage facilities exceeding 100,000 m3. A critical component of these storage pits is the polymeric geomembrane, which forms a crucial seal between the pit and the ground. These geomembranes must demonstrate excellent resistance to high temperatures.

Manufacturers worldwide are exploring new materials and technologies for geomembranes in PTES. In particular, the use of PERT geomembranes as well as polypropylene thermoplastic liners has gained traction, with companies like Solmax Geosynthetics and Agru Kunststofftechnik leading the way. Projects in Denmark and Germany showcase the potential of these liners in harnessing waste heat for district heating, making PTES a promising application for geomembranes.

Use of Metallocene Resin in Geomembranes

The year 2024 is poised to witness increased adoption of metallocene resins in HDPE and LLDPE geomembranes. Recent developments in metallocene polyethylene (mPE) have addressed the challenges that previously hindered their widespread use, including higher costs and processing difficulties. New grades of metallocene linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and medium-density polyethylene (MDPE) with lower melt flow rates (MFR) have emerged. Some of these materials feature slight long-chain branching to enhance processability.

While initially not designed for the geomembrane industry, these mPE materials strike a better balance between mechanical properties and processing performance. Widespread usage of mPE, particularly in the packaging sector, has led to better economies of scale and reduced price gaps compared to traditional HDPE geomembranes. This shift is expected to result in improved stress cracking resistance in HDPE geomembranes, making them more reliable for various applications.

PVC Geomembranes Under Threat

Though not expected to be banned outright this year, PVC geomembranes face potential challenges in 2024, driven by concerns surrounding vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), a crucial component in PVC production. VCM was officially classified as a human carcinogen in 1974 and has been already banned in various consumer products, such as hair sprays, refrigerants, cosmetics, and drugs.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month initiated a review in response to environmental and health concerns, signalling the possibility of regulatory changes affecting PVC production. While it remains uncertain how this review will unfold, the geomembrane industry should remain vigilant and explore alternative materials and technologies in case of changes to PVC production.


As we step into 2024, the geomembrane industry faces a blend of opportunities and challenges. Supply chain risks emanating from the Middle East conflict call for careful planning and risk management. On the bright side, emerging applications, such as pit heat storages and pumped hydro schemes, are expanding the horizons for geomembranes.

Additionally, the adoption of metallocene resins in geomembranes and the possible phasing out of PVC geomembranes signify major developments in material innovations. By staying adaptable and prepared for change, the geomembrane sector can navigate the evolving landscape and continue to provide essential solutions across various industries.

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