The market for ultrapure water systems has rebounded to again reach the highs of 2000 and is poised for further growth in the years ahead. Purchases of these systems fell from $2.8 billion in 2000 to $2.4 billion in 2002. In 2004 system purchases will be just under $3 billion and will rise to $4.4 billion in 2007. This is the current forecast in the continually updated online, Ultrapure Water: World Markets, published by the McIlvaine Company.
Sophisticated and complex water treatment is needed for washing computer chips or for fluids injected into the human body. Ultrapure water systems involve disinfection, filtration, ion exchange, and degasification.
The flat panel display industry is one of the hottest market segments. Samsung Electronics started constructing a $12 billion factory in Chungcheongnam in the South Korean province to make liquid crystal displays (LCD) for flat screen television sets and monitors. By 2010, the plant is forecast to be the world's largest producer of flat-panel displays, and will be a major user of ultrapure water.
The massive investment by Samsung is part of a surge in capital spending on flat panel capacity in East Asia this year as electronics manufacturers race for leadership of this fast-growing segment.
The pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry makes ultrapure water for use in products, and specifically for fluids injected into the human body. The industry will spend $200 million for ultrapure water systems this year. Several large projects will contribute to this increase. Genentech is expanding its Vacaville manufacturing plant at a cost of $600 million. The new facility will allow the company to double its production. This will make it the largest biotechnology manufacturing plant in the world.
Ultrapure water is needed for the steam generated by coal-fired boilers. There are nearly 100 new coal-fired boiler projects in design or planning, and more than a dozen moving through to construction soon in the United States. An even larger number of plants are underway in China. As a result, the power industry will spend over $700 million for ultrapure water systems this year worldwide.
Coal-fired plants use four times as much ultrapure water as gas-fired combined cycle plants. So, the market is largest in China where demand is surging and coal is the fuel of choice. China will spend $130 million this year for power plant ultrapure water new and replacement systems and components.