Desalination set to grow

Desalination set to grow
By 2007, the annual orders for membrane desalination equipment will reach USD 1.8 billion. This in turn will drive the total cross flow membrane equipment market world-wide to over USD 8 billion in 2007. This is the conclusion of the McIlvaine Company in a recent report on orders for reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration, and microfiltration cross flow equipment.
A number of localities around the world are turning to reverse osmosis (RO) because of contaminated water supply. Wichita Falls, Texas, is one of the most recent converts to reverse osmosis. California represents a good example of using seawater as the water source. A dozen small desalination plants are now in operation along the California coast. But there is an explosion of activity with 20 plants, including some large ones, now in some phase of development. This activity is driven by the continuing reduction in the operating cost of reverse osmosis systems. Less power and lower operating costs have been achieved due to technology advancements. By contrast, the cost of procurement and treatment of surface water has continued to rise. There may in fact come a time when California becomes an exporter and not importer of water. China, with its low amount of water per capita, represents a big potential market, and water withdrawal there has increased dramatically in recent years. The pharmaceutical industry uses RO, UF, and MF for processing applications. Growth in biotechnology and other pharmaceutical sectors will lead to a USD 900 million market in 2007 for membrane equipment. Food will be an equally large market for membrane filtration in 2007. Some consolidation is taking place in the industry. General Electric now owns Osmonics. Several pump companies have acquired membrane companies. USFilter has become a major player in ultrafiltration and microfiltration. Dow Chemical has increased its market share in the sale of membranes. So
bigger companies now play a larger role in the industry.

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