Suppliers of equipment, services and chemicals to create ultrapure water will enjoy revenues approaching $5 billion next year. This is the latest forecast in Ultrapure Water: World Market published by the McIlvaine Company.
The coal-fired power plant market in China stands out due to its large size. The investment in 90 new power plants with an average size of 600 MW is supplemented by over 700,000 MW of existing capacity which will purchase consumables and some of which will invest in upgrades in 2015.
The China semiconductor and other electronic market will be strong. Ultrapure water is needed for chip washing. China is building state of the art semiconductor with small lime sizes. The smaller the chip features and the more memory per square millimeter, the more pure the wash water has to be. The construction of generic pharmaceutical production limes by international companies will also boost the Chinese market as well as the market in India.
In 2015, the big market in the U.S. will be gas turbine and combined cycle power plants. Higher temperature exhaust reaching the HRSG requires more pure water. The availability of relatively low cost natural gas in the U.S. is leading to a boom in gas turbine plant construction. The opposite is true in Europe where gas prices are high. Gas turbines have a unique ultrapure water requirement. In order to lower the inlet temperature and, thereby, increase the weight of combustion, air fogging nozzles are used. The small ultrapure water droplets are evaporated in the air intake. Any impurities in the water lead to maintenance problems in the rotating elements.
The feedwater which is turned into steam is purified with a number of treatment processes. Cartridges, gravity filters, microfiltration, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis (RO) are typically employed. Ion-exchange or electrodeionization is also utilized. There are specialized pumps and valves which must be designed not to contribute any contamination to the feedwater. Pharmaceutical processes are concerned with viruses and other microorganisms, so they employ disinfection techniques such as ultraviolet radiation as well a RO filtration.
Picture: McIlvaine Company