Water Treatment Chemical Sales to Exceed $19 Billion By 2006

Nov. 19, 2002
The revenues of the world water and wastewater treatment chemical suppliers will exceed $19 billion in 2006 up from $14 billion in 2000. The power industry will be the biggest segment with revenues of $6 billion. These are predictions made by the McIlvaine Company in its continually updated online report Water and Wastewater Treatment Chemicals: World Market.

Other market segments listed in order of importance are municipal water (including disinfection), municipal wastewater, oil and gas, pulp and paper (not including papermaking chemicals), metalworking, electronics, food and chemical.

In terms of types of chemicals corrosion inhibitors will continue to be the leading revenue producer with organic flocculants not far behind. These two segments alone will account for nearly $8 billion in sales by 2006. Another $5 billion will be spent for scale inhibitors and inorganic flocculants. The other $6 billion will be spent on activated carbon, chelants, defoamers, ion exchange resins, oxidizers and biocides and pH inhibitors.

Growth in Asia will exceed that of any other region. China is rapidly expanding its purchases of chemicals. In the water and wastewater area it is building more new plants than any other country. In terms of power plant expansion it has taken a back seat to the U.S. in recent years but with electricity needs expanding at 9%/yr it will again take the lead as the largest builder of new power plants. It is already a major exporter of some treatment chemicals (e.g. activated carbon). India and other Asian countries will also be increasing purchases of treatment chemicals at rates greater then their European and American counterparts.

The traditional routes to market have been altered based on restructuring of both the supplier and the purchasing companies. Two of the largest chemicals suppliers are part of companies which also sell equipment. Betz Dearbon is now part of GE and Nalco is part of Ondeo which in turn is part of Suez. In both cases the conglomerate is in a position to sell both the original equipment and then the subsequent chemicals to keep it running properly. Two of the largest customer segments have also undergone change. The traditional power companies have been supplanted with new large multi national conglomerates. Privatization of the water and wastewater industry has also lead to multi nationals in this sector. It follows that multi national purchasers want multi national suppliers.

New applications for treatment chemicals continue to develop. Wastewater reuse is gaining in popularity. Removal of odors from wastewater is another growth segment. The semiconductor industry which will be making an even finer line on chips will need rinse water which is even more pure than that now required. The next generation of power generators will utilize steam at even higher temperatures and therefore also need higher purity water.

Source: McIlvaine Company

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