Tradeshow will highlight new disinfection solutions to keep up with growing demand
The extraction and processing of water, and treatment of wastewater and sewage are core themes at the environmental technology trade show, IFAT. At the last event in 2012, these subjects took up around 115,000 sq meters of space out of an exhibition total of 215,000 sq meters. For the next IFAT, which takes place May 5 to 9, 2014, Messe München is expecting exhibitor participation in these segments to again be high because of the ever-increasing importance of the field.
Revenues in the world market for disinfection systems for water and wastewater are set to reach close to $3 billion in 2019. That is the forecast in a recent study by international corporate consultants Frost & Sullivan. For 2012, the analysts put a figure of almost $2 billion on the world market. For the coming years their prediction is for consistent market growth of more than 6% per year.
A number of reasons lie behind these high growth expectations. The global trends towards urbanization and industrialization, for example, are leading to more intensive use, treatment and reuse of the scarce resource of water.
Vandhana Ravi, a Frost & Sullivan analyst and one of the authors of the report, said: "In addition to its function in the provision of drinking water supplies, disinfection will become increasingly important in the treatment of water for use in processing, for example in non-food irrigation or industrial cooling." In his opinion the water-intensive industries in particular, such an energy-generation, food and beverages production or pharmaceuticals, will drive the market for water and wastewater disinfection.
Other market drivers will be tighter regulatory measures, such as the EU directive on drinking water, the European directive on the treatment of local-authority wastewater, and the Clean Water Act in the U.S. Currently, 60% of worldwide revenues in water and wastewater disinfection systems are achieved in sales to local authorities, and around 40% in industrial applications.
International manufacturers and system suppliers offer a wide spectrum of techniques for achieving bacteria-free or low-bacteria water, including chlorination, ozonation, electrolysis, ultraviolet irradiation, microfiltration and thermal treatment. However, the relatively high investment and operating costs for some of these systems is hampering their use, in particular in developing and emerging countries.
"These nations still prefer cost-effective solutions, even if this means sacrificing product quality," Ravi said. "Which means that in the Asia-Pacific region, in Africa and in the Middle East, chlorine gas is still generally used for disinfection, although there are considerably environmental risks involved in handling this poisonous substance." It is the job of the environmental technology sector to develop sustainable, high-performance and nevertheless affordable solutions for these markets.