Power, electronic, pharmaceutical and other plants in North and South America which need ultrapure water will spend $690 million for hardware and consumables in 2015. This is the latest forecast in Ultrapure Water World Markets published by the McIlvaine Company. (www.mcilvainecompany.com)
The most recent revisions reflect an increase in investment in the gas turbine sector and a decrease in the coal-fired power sector. Unlike Asia, there is no activity relative to new coal-fired power plant construction in the U.S. and little elsewhere in the Americas. Gas turbines are the most popular choice for new electricity generation. Ultrapure water is needed not only for the feedwater to the HRSG but also for the fogging nozzle water on the air intake.
The electronics sector is relatively small compared with other continents. Flat panel manufacture is a major application in Asia. Most of the semiconductor production is also concentrated in a few East Asian countries.
The Americas is still a major segment of the pharmaceutical industry although Asia is catching up. The pharmaceutical ultrapure water needs include water for injection (WFI) which includes the injectable drugs.
Cross-flow membrane systems are widely used in the generation of ultrapure water. The pharmaceutical industry still uses distillation systems. In general, the bottled water industry does not purify its product enough to fall into the ultrapure water category. There are some exceptions. Companies such as Coca Cola use distillation and then add back electrolytes to provide what Coke calls smart water.
Demineralization and degasification is a critical step in the power industry. Companies such as Membrana and Dow are active in this area.
Sophisticated monitoring is required due to the need to reduce impurities to levels below the sensitivity range of most instruments. A number of different chemicals are needed for a range of tasks from purifying the inlet water to cleaning the reverse osmosis membranes.
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