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Study: Water Desalination Worldwide for Sea Water and Brackish Water
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by Helmut Kaiser Consultancy 19 the future of Water

Study: Water Desalination Worldwide for Sea Water and Brackish Water 2005-2010-2015


The market for water desalination has witnessed a significant upturn during the last years. Driven by the increasing world population and the diminishing freshwater sources, a result of global warming, desertation and environment destruction, many countries in the world have constructed or are constructing water desalination plants for water supply. Meanwhile the technological innovations have been largely raising the energy efficiency of the desalination process and reducing the running costs, which are always the key concern for the large-scale water desalination. Especially, the innovations in energy utilization, such as solar energy and terrestrial heat, the advances of nanotechnology and molecular technologies have been elevating the outcome efficiency so largely that the desalination is really becoming a realistic solution for the water shortage in many parts of the world. The market volume has been soaring from $ 2.5 bn in 2002 to $ 3.8 bn in 2005 with a growth rate over 15% per annum. These figures are only plant and equipment but not the whole value chain. The market figures for the whole market, you will find in the study. It is predicted that this fast development is going to last and even accelerate for at least the next ten years. The market worldwide is to reach nearly $ 30 bn up to 2015. Dramatic increase is expected in Asia mainly China, in new technologies and small systems applications.

Divided by regions, Middle East still takes over 50% of the market share, followed by Asia-Pacific, where economic boom, urbanization, population growth and environment deterioation make the municipalities and industrials eager to search for new water sources. These two regions are going to remain the leading forces for the global markets. America and Europe share about 10% of the market respectively. The construction there is mainly for the purpose of reducing the use of groundwater or adding alternative water sources.

The traditional dominating technology MSF (Multiple Stage Flash) is continuing to lose its share to RO (Reverse Osmosis) and MED (Multi-effect Distillation), due to the improvement of membrane technologies and the cost advantage. Other innovations, mainly focused on reducing the costs and raising the efficiency, are also entering the market in fast paces. The establish of the first hybrid plant, Fujairah plant, in the United Arab Emirates in 2004 is just an example.

Divided by value chain, manufacturing has the biggest market share, 45% of total market in 2004. It is followed by operation & maintenance with a market share of 27%. Installation, design and training & support share the rest of the market, with different profitability and growth potential. In the residential systems, the proportion varifies. The tendency in the residential segments is that manufacturing & installation take more and more market share from operation & maintenance through the supply of more sophisticated equipments.

The running costs, especially the ratio of the energy consumed for every unit water output, largely decide the future of individual technologies and the competiveness of the desalination methods against other water treatment approaches. The R&D worldwide is thus focused on raising the energy efficiency and reducing the running costs. The exciting progresses, above all in the nanotechnoloy, during the last years demonstrate that the full-scale utilisation of sea water will probably come true in the near future.

The market has been undergoing fundamental changes during these years. Two important actions in 2004: GE´s acquisition of Ionics for $ 1.1 billion and Siemens´ purchase of U.S. Filter for $ 983 million, indicate that chances in the related water market are highly valued and the competion is intensifying. The new competitors from Korea, China, and other Asian countries, with their cost advantage, are another big threat for today´s industrial leaders. Moreover, privatisation may trigger fast market development in certain countries.

Water Desalination Industry Worldwide, developed by Helmut Kaiser Consultancy, is a study about the most recent market development, technological innovations, competition and related regulations & policies. Helmut Kaiser Consultancy has been tracking the development of the water desalination industry for over 10 years. The market figures in this study have been collected, examined and analyzed through precise and critical work.

The full report is available at: click here

Visit also the conference about 'the future of Water' and the sections with books, articles and links.

See also NanoWater

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