$280 billion air and water treatment markets

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Source: The McIlvaine Company

The performance of filters and other air and water treatment equipment can now not only be monitored remotely but optimized by sophisticated software programs. Increasingly plants see advantages in outsourcing maintenance. Materials developed for compressed air filtration may find use in dust collection and liquid purification. As a result, many companies are now interested in the broader definition which defines a $280 billion/yr market.

This definition includes the tiny filters used in computer disk drives and the power plant dust collectors the size of a five story apartment building. It includes the cartridges used with home tap water and the huge desalination plants supplying the desert cities in the Middle East.

This total also includes the treatment chemicals. Nalco is a good example of a chemical company which is expanding into the supply of hardware for both air and water purification. GE is very active in treatment chemicals through the former Betz. It supplies liquid treatment hardware through the former Ionics and Osmonics and dust collection through the former BHA.

There is a range of treatment technologies included: filtration, centrifugal separation, electrostatic forces, impingement, adsorption and chemical change. Chemical change includes thermal treatment and the oxidation of organics. Vehicle exhaust is one of the biggest market segments for oxidation (through catalytic converters) but there are strong industrial markets. A big new market for oxidation is the cement industry. This industry has suddenly been required to eliminate toxic organic emissions.

The air markets include indoor air, stack gases and mobile sources. Johnson Matthey has oxidation technology for both the stack gas and mobile markets. Donaldson started in the mobile area and pioneered the introduction of mobile technology for stationary stack gas applications. Clarcor is active in indoor air, stack gases, mobile and in some areas of the liquid market as well.

Some companies are very big players in narrow segments. Dow Chemical is the leading supplier of reverse osmosis membranes but is not strong in other markets. 3M is the largest supplier of the medium efficiency residential HVAC filters but has a tiny share of the stack gas market with a special high temperature filter media.

Siemens has significant activities in measurement and control as well as in treatment systems in both air and water. They also have contract services including complete outsourcing of some types of treatment.

The market is analyzed in detail in eight McIlvaine reports on specific segments of the air and water industries. For more information on these reports, click on: www.mcilvainecompany.com.

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