Despite the ups and downs of both the power and semiconductor markets sales of ultrapure water (UPW) systems will grow from $2 billion in 2002 to $2.6 billion in 2006. These forecasts represent the latest adjustments to the McIlvaine online report World Ultrapure Water Markets. Ultrapure water systems are used to purify water used to generate steam in the power industry. This ultrapure water filtered through membranes is also used to rinse chips in the semiconductor industry.
The semiconductor segment surged in 2000 when suppliers purchased ultrapure water systems valued at more than $1.5 billion worldwide. In 2001 revenues for these systems fell by more than 30%. However 2001 was a banner year for the power industry. So the surge in one industry in part compensated for the fall in the other.
2002 is shaping up to be a slow year with the semiconductor industry just beginning to recover and the power industry ultrapure water system purchases falling. This drop is due to the cancellation of a number of gas turbine projects in the United States. A steady recovery in both of these major industries will result in substantial growth over the next several years. The semiconductor industry is faced with massive capital expenditures as it abandons obsolete 200-mm chip plants and switches to 300-mm plants. Taiwan and China are already stepping up their investments. China will be one of the largest purchasers of ultrapure water systems over the next five years. It is a large purchaser of semiconductors but is purchasing most of these from outside the country. Massive investments will be made to provide domestic sourcing.
The pharmaceutical industry which uses ultrapure water for use in injectable drugs is a smaller purchaser but is increasing purchases at nearly 10 percent/yr. The flat panel industry is also a growing user of ultra pure water. There are a number of other small applications for this very high purity water but power and semiconductor segments make up the bulk of the market.
Consolidation continues in the industry. Recently BWT with sales of 311 million euros purchased Christ who is a major UPW system supplier. New technical and process developments will continue to impact the market. Electrodeionization is making increased penetration as safety and cost issues relative to chemicals tilt the economics toward EDI. Reuse of water in the semiconductor industry will have a major impact on the market. A large semiconductor plant needs up to 3 million gallons per day of high purity water. The industry has set a goal of reducing net usage to 4-6 l/cm2 in 2007 from the present 6-8 l/cm2. The greater demands of supercritical boilers in the power industry result in larger revenues per megawatt as operators have to cope with the problems associated with the very high temperature and pressure steam.
For more information on Ultrapure Water World Markets visit www.mcilvainecompany.com.