Developments in Process & Makeup Water Market

Jan. 13, 2015
Projected activities in key market segments

About the author: Robert McIlvaine is president of McIlvaine Co. McIlvaine can be reached at [email protected] or 847.784.0012.

The global market for industrial process and makeup water equipment and services is just under $60 billion, with makeup or intake water treatment accounting for more than two-thirds of the total. The entire water equipment and services market is projected to be $246 billion in 2015, with industrial segment revenues reaching $186 billion and non-industrial segment reaching $60 billion.

Relative to intake water, the flow segment could be the largest of the market, at $24 billion. This segment includes pumps and valves used in extracting the water and then moving it through the filtration steps. There also are chemical and gravity treatment processes.

In the processing segment, filtration plays a much bigger role. Sales for process filtration are projected to be $3 billion in 2015 and will equal the process flow segment. Monitoring plays an important role in the processing and intake segments. The service segment represents 19% of the intake segment and 37% of the processing segment. This is due to the complexity and importance of the equipment in creating the value of the products that the plant manufactures. 

Relative Extraction Quantities

A non-industrial source, irrigation, accounts for the biggest extraction of water. In the industrial sector, power plants extract more water than all other sources combined. Intake water is treated initially in the same manner, whether the ultimate use is ultrapure water or boiler cooling. It is necessary to first remove large objects, including fish and plant material. Then, depending on the ultimate use, more efficient removal methods are selected. Chemical treatment may be necessary depending on the use.

In the U.S., a great deal of effort and expense is being generated by a regulation to protect fish. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has promulgated rules under the Clean Water Act Section 316B that require water intake procedures to minimize harm to aquatic life. This will affect more than 1,000 power plants as well as other facilities with substantial withdrawal. 

Satisfying Section 316B

The solutions involve either finding ways to protect the aquatic life at the current flows or reduce the intake quantity. Many plants have once-through cooling systems. One option to meet 316B is to install cooling towers and recirculate water, which can be expensive. Less costly alternatives—such as intake screens, which either prevent entrapment or rejection without harm—need to be considered. Flow control with variable-speed pump drives is another option.

Siemens has conducted detailed analyses that show that the use of variable-speed drives reduces entrainment and harm by more than 80%. There are many nuances to the rules and flexibility in the way they can be treated by the individual states. The extensive analysis done will be valuable to the plants seeking to obtain compliance.

For food, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, the focus lies on slurry. Food and pharmaceuticals are subject to Food and Drug Administration rules and generally require sanitary construction; pumps, valves and filters are required to be constructed of stainless steel. The food industry has applications where slurries are being processed at high temperatures to pasteurize the product. Ceramic filters often are used when temperatures exceed the limits of synthetic materials. 

The industrial water intake and process equipment and services will account for 25% of the total water equipment and services market in 2015. Most of the growth will take place outside of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  This has important implications for those suppliers whose roots are in the OECD.

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About the Author

Robert McIlvaine

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