How can water technology companies capitalise on the increasing pressing need to treat and manage water in the face of tightening environmental regulations and a squeeze on global water resources? A new report by Global Water Intelligence seeks the answers.
Industrial Water Technology Markets report published by Global Water intelligence (GWI) reviews the existing technological trends in each sector and explores in detail the technology gaps that are creating opportunities for new solutions in each market.
Industrial water is the fastest growing sector of the global water market, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. The market for industrial water treatment technologies is set to expand by more than 50% over the next five years, from an estimated $7 billion in 2015 to more than $11 billion in 2020.
“The industrial sector is seen as a more dynamic arena than the conservative municipal utility market. Water technology companies will find major opportunities in this market if they can solve the problems of industrial water users with cost-effective, innovative solutions that improve efficiency,” Christopher Gasson, publisher commented.
The report’s findings reveal that the upstream oil & gas and food & beverage industries will lead the way in capital spending on water and wastewater treatment technologies in 2015, while three major industrial areas account for more than half of total spending: oil & gas, food & beverage, and mining.
Despite the recent dip in oil prices, the market is set to double to $4.5 billion in 2020, depending on the recovery of oil prices. This will create opportunities for desalination technologies because of the need for enhanced oil recovery methods (EOR), and also to deal with challenging wastewater streams for zero liquid discharge.
In food & beverage, technology suppliers are developing anaerobic treatment technologies that are more efficient and easier to operate, and which industrial facility operators can use to take advantage of biogas production to reduce their energy costs.
Miners are not just facing intensifying competition for water resources; they must also deal with higher volumes of wastewater. Membranes have begun to offer a solution for treating tailings water, while there is room for improvement in removing cyanides from waste- water following the processing of gold ore.
The report shows that much of the innovation in treatment technologies is occurring in the area of dissolved solids removal, in an attempt to improve the efficiency of the reverse osmosis process (by reducing energy usage) or to deal with the high TDS waters of RO reject and produced water from unconventional oil & gas wells.
There will also be strong growth in technologies that allow industrial users to make use of marginal sources of water, such as reused wastewater, and which benefit companies facing tough discharge regulations, such as miners.
The fastest growing segment for suspended solids will be MF/ UF membranes, at 7% per year, as their uptake for process water treatment and tertiary treatment increases.
According to the report, the adoption of membrane bioreactor systems for the treatment of process wastewater will also drive substantial growth in membrane filtration, while there is an increasing buzz surrounding the adoption of ceramic membranes in the oil & gas sector.
In addition, increasing investment is expected in biological processes for the removal of non-organic substances such as selenium compounds – from FGD wastewater in the power and mining industries.
UV radiation and ozonation will see strong growth, while advanced oxidation processes will occupy a niche market, particular applications being supercritical water oxidation in refining and pharmaceuticals, and catalytic oxidation in upstream oil & gas.