$900 Million Market for Desal Components and Materials


The world seawater desalination capacity will grow by 50 percent from 2010 to 2015 when it will reach 100 million m3/day. The annual additions of 8 million m3/day will require an investment of $2 billion/yr.

$900 Million Market for Desal Components and Materials

Component Revenues for Desalination 2011-15 (Table/Image: McIlvaine Company)

This will require an annual investment in components and materials of $900 million. This conclusion was reached by aggregating the forecasts appearing in several McIlvaine market reports.

The component forecasts not only include the components needed for the additional capacity but those needed for replacement and repair at existing facilities.

There is a substantial market for pumps. They deliver the seawater to the reverse osmosis (RO), Multi Effect Desalination (MED), or Multi Stage Flash installation (MSF) system. In the case of the (RO) system, they also are the equipment used for energy recovery.

All three of the processes have many stages and require a number of high priced valves due to the corrosive and other harsh conditions.

All three processes include filtration of the incoming seawater creating markets for macrofilters, cartridges and sedimentation & centrifugation systems. Reverse osmosis has become an increasingly popular method for desalinating seawater. It requires a substantial investment in cross-flow membrane systems.

The presence of chlorides and solids plus the temperatures and pressures required for the processes dictate the use of high quality materials for vessels, pipes, evaporators, clarifiers and other equipment. Stainless steel has become increasingly popular as a material to provide long life under these conditions.

There are continuing improvements in components and technologies which promise to reduce the cost of desalination. At the same time the cost of alternative sources of drinking water is climbing due to scarcity and pollution issues. Therefore the market for desalination components will continue to grow at more than 8%/yr.

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