The McIlvaine Company

$6 Billion Fabric Filter System Market By 2009


Source: The McIlvaine Company

The market for fabric filter systems will rise from $4.5 billion in 2005 to just over $6 billion in 2009, according to the latest forecasts contained in the online continually updated Fabric Filters and Elements: World Markets.

Fabric filters are used to capture pollutants before they are discharged from stacks and chimneys of industrial facilities. These devices use woven, felted or sintered media in tubular bag or cartridge shapes to capture even the tiniest particles. Their high efficiency has led to a big market to replace the less efficient scrubbers and precipitators.

Fabric filters have long been used in the metal working industries to capture metal fumes created in the melting process. The mining, cement, chemical, and food industries have also been major markets. Despite robust growth in these applications in Asia, the biggest potential is being realized in the power industry.

The Australian power industry has replaced a large percentage of its precipitators with fabric filters. But other countries have been slow to follow suit. Less than 15 percent of the U.S. coal-fired capacity is fitted with fabric filters. The rest still utilize electrostatic precipitators for the removal of fly ash.

Recent regulations on emissions of fine particles at the national level in the U.S. and tighter enforcement of emissions at the state level are resulting in substantial investments in fabric filters. In the U.S. there are more than 100 new power plants under design or construction. Fifty percent of these will be equipped with fabric filters. A single 600 MW boiler will require an investment of $50 million for a fabric filter systems.

The market for fabric filters is also being boosted by the success of the so called dry scrubbing process for capturing SO2 and other acid gases. Spray driers or circulating fluid beds are used to react lime with SO2 creating gypsum particles which are then captured by the filters. A substantial market for this process has developed in the waste-to-energy business worldwide. The big potential is in the power industry and has yet to be realized.

There is a very large potential for fabric filters operating at 850ºF. If designers can provide filters which will operate reliably at this temperature, then power plants and other processes which use selective catalytic reduction for NOx control would be able to reduce the size of the catalyst systems and extend catalyst life. Furthermore the efficiency of power generation could be improved. This would result in fewer greenhouse gases.

A smaller but attractive market is for filtering particulate in coal gasification systems. Ceramic candles have proven their capability to filter effectively at more than 1000ºF.

The greatest fabric filter revenue increase will be in China where coal-fired capacity will exceed the U.S. by 2009. A number of dry scrubber SO2 removal systems in China have been fitted with fabric filters. Purchases of fabric filters for cement, mining and other applications exceed those of any other country.

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