Industrial Desalination ‘&’ Water Reuse Technologies market to approach $12bn by 2025, says new report

London: Salt removal and wastewater recycling technologies are expected to become an essential ingredient in operational strategy, growing by 11.4% over the next five years to reach a total market value of $11,963bn by 2025, the latest report from UK-based Global Water Intelligence (GWI) predicts.

The report is a timely study of the vital relationship between the water sector and global economic growth. It confirms that industry is now taking significant steps to address the issues of scarcity and sustainability and that it is also recognising that embracing new technologies can be good news for the bottom line The report, Industrial Desalination ‘&’ Water Reuse: Ultrapure water, challenging waste streams and improved efficiency, focuses on the demands of eight major water-using industries: Oil and gas, Refining and petrochemicals, Power generation, Food and beverage, Pharmaceutical, Microelectronics, Pulp and paper, and Mining. Within these industries the market forecast focuses on three principal areas where desalination/demineralisation technologies are employed: Ultrapure water (UPW), Seawater desalination and Wastewater desalination.

The 270 page report includes a market and technology overview and provides forecast data by technology / system, by year and by country, depicted in many charts and tables.

The report explains that, in addition to scarcity of water, global economic growth is also challenged by the need to develop new sources of energy and mineral resources, by increased demand on agricultural productivity and by the call to better management of carbon emissions. Indeed, the role of treated water itself is becoming more important as, within the move towards recycling, it becomes the vector for energy and materials recovery. However, removing salt from water and turning low quality wastewater and raw water sources into high quality process water, are the key drivers of water efficiency for the global economy. Desalination and water reuse technologies are unlocking the potential for growth – and will also be the main beneficiaries.

Within the oil and gas upstream energy sector, the report sees four key growth markets: Firstly, shale gas and coalbed methane (CBM) production in many regions is limited by the disposal options for the flow back water from hydraulic fracturing, and CBM production is challenged by the huge volumes of water that are brought to the surface. Desalination and water reuse technologies are therefore potential solutions and might re-write the future for the fossil fuel industry. The report suggests the strongest market currently will be in the Australian CBM sector due to the low price of gas in the U.S.

Secondly, as oil producers try to develop new deep-sea resources, and also squeeze more out of existing reservoirs, they must remove sulphates to protect the quality of the oil from salt damage, and are also now able to increase recovery using low salinity water to wet’ the sandstone. The report suggests that the use of NF and RO technologies for seawater flood could become this industry’s fastest growing sector.

Thirdly, recycling produced water for steam enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the heavy oil sector is also an area for greater investment, relying on water recycling systems in general and evaporation technology in particular. Canada’s oil sands represent the largest oil reserve in the world but these technologies will increasingly become a feature of production in the Arabian Peninsula.

Fourthly, the oil industry produces 39 million m?/d of water – far more than the oil it brings to the surface – and the vast majority of this is re-injected straight back into the ground. A small amount (around 3%) is reused for beneficial purposes and the report argues that this proportion will increase.

The total growth in the market is expected to rise by 14.2% by 2017, reaching $5,508.5bn by 2025.

Power generation is the largest industrial user of water, and at the same time as requiring greater water efficiency, customers are putting a growing emphasis on the consistency, reliability and specification of their ultrapure water systems. The report argues that tighter regulation of coal emissions, ageing infrastructure, lower gas costs and the switch away from nuclear power may lead to accelerated investment in new and upgraded gas power stations. The future looks good in this sector for desalination and water reuse technologies, including reverse osmosis, ion exchange (IX), low pressure membranes, electrodeionisation (EDI) and evaporators. Total growth in the market is expected to rise by 17.1% by 2017, reaching $1,950bn by 2025.