Ultrapure Water Market to Exceed $4 Billion in 2012


The market for ultrapure water systems and consumables will exceed $4 billion in 2012. This is the latest forecast from the McIlvaine report: Ultrapure Water World Markets.

The electronics industry will edge out coal-fired boilers as the biggest purchaser.

The definition of ultrapure water is narrow and includes boiler feed water, chip rinsing water, pharmaceutical water used in products which are injected into humans, and the slightly less pure water for soft drinks and cosmetics.

The market growth is in Asia. One reason is the rapid growth of coal-fired generating capacity in this region. Another reason is the growth of electronics including semiconductors. Nearly all the world s flat panel displays are built in Asia.

Technologies which are in wide use include several types of membrane filtration. Reverse osmosis, degasification, microfiltration, and ultrafiltration are all practiced with membranes which differ by the aperatures or openings in each.

Continuous electrodeionization is taking away market share from conventional ion-exchange technology. There is incentive to improve the purification technologies to keep pace with the industry needs. As the line sizes in chips are reduced, the purification requirements for rinse water rise proportionately. Most of the new coal-fired power plants are using ultrasupercritical technology. The higher temperatures and pressures exacerbate the damage done by contaminants in the steam, so these systems need feed water which is even more pure than conventional plants.

Ultrapure water systems can be quite complex. For example, in a semiconductor plant there can be a whole train of purification equipment followed by reverse osmosis. The purified water is then sent to one of the etching processes. The concern that some contamination could occur in the piping dictates the installation of a membrane cartridge filter.

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