There are a number of industry and technology variables which will impact the markets for treatment and flow of air, gas, water and other liquids. Some of these game changers can affect the annual market by billions of dollars per year. This is the conclusion of the McIlvaine Company in Air/Gas/Water/Fluid Treatment and Control: World Market.
The energy industry has created a number of game changers. The most recent is a decision by China to convert massive amounts of coal into synthetic natural gas and gasoline. Over 200 billion cubic meters of synthetic gas per year could be created in the western and northern coal fields and sent to Beijing and other large cities to provide clean burning fuels.
An equal amount of syn gas will be further processed into chemicals such as methanol and into high quality gasoline. The impact on equipment markets is illustrated by a cooling tower order for $50 million which SPX received last week for one of the coal liquefaction plants. This plant will use only 0.2 percent of the coal envisioned for the entire program. So the total cooling tower market alone will be $25 billion.
Much of this program is very embryonic. It is possible that only a portion will be implemented. But based on previous Chinese initiatives, the goals are likely to be achieved.
Extraction of gas and oil by unconventional means continues to be another game changer. Shale gas/oil extraction in the U.S. continues to be a booming market. The question is whether other countries will follow suit and when will they do so.
Subsea processing is very dynamic with high pressures creating engineering challenges and many opportunities for suppliers of valves, pumps and materials. There are many technology game changers. The cooling tower design used by SPX for the liquefaction plant is a new design with minimum water loss. Wet, hybrid and dry options are now available. Air cooled condensers consume lots of energy but do not require water.
Another game changer is the catalytic filter. Removal of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate all takes place in one vessel. The heat from the clean hot gas can then be economically extracted.
Direct sorbent injection has been a game changer in the U.S. air pollution market. It will reduce the expenditures for capital equipment but increase the market for the sorbents.