Water and wastewater treatment: on your marks, get set . . .

The ongoing pursuit of reducing running costs and guaranteeing an optimal quality/quantity ratio has led industrial end-users to increase installations of technologically-advanced equipment for the treatment of water utilised in on-site processes.

A series of new studies by international consultancy Frost & Sullivan claim that the European market for water and wastewater treatment equipment is set to jump in response to intensifying demand amongst industrial end-users.

Treatment methods
Demineralisation and activated carbon have advanced to become fairly established process water treatment methods. Relatively new techniques such as membranes, UV and ozonation are expected to enjoy prolonged strong growth in this sector up to and beyond the forecast period.

In its review of national markets, the studies confirm Germany's continued dominance in the European water sector. However, over the forecast period, the German share of the overall market is expected to decline due to the nation's increasing saturation of process equipment market.

The UK follows in second position, predicted to exhibit the most impressive growth over the forecast period.

The pulp and paper sector ranks amongst the leading industrial end-users for water and wastewater treatment technologies. According to the new reports, high process water volumes and increasing environmental considerations are the principal forces strengthening the market.

The studies identify three crucial drivers behind the buoyancy of on-site water and wastewater treatment demand: wastewater legislation; substantial wastewater pollution levels coupled with high effluent volumes; and the growing interest in process efficiencies.

Electronics
Sales of water and wastewater treatment equipment to the European pulp and paper industry are projected to grow from $260.3m in 2001 to $314.1m by 2007. On-site recycling also provides a significant part of the water intake in the pulp and paper mills. Already, the reports claim, 73.8 per cent of customers have implemented on-site recycling facilities in an effort to achieve cost-efficiencies from internal water loops.

Water and wastewater treatment equipment suppliers to the microelectronics industry are in ebullient mood.

Quality requirements
According to Frost & Sullivan, a recent decline in chip sales, tightening competition and deteriorating business conditions will inevitably lead to weakened demand and a more cautious purchasing approach amongst customers. However, continued improvements in water recycling designed for the reduction of water consumption levels and the need for replacements and upgrades to allow process efficiencies will offset lacklustre business conditions.

Benefiting from the quality requirements of the burgeoning semiconductors market, sales of water and wastewater treatment equipment to the European microelectronics industry is forecast to grow. Saana Karki, Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, explains: "The purity of water used during the microelectronics manufacturing process is of paramount importance. Also, safe wastewater discharge requirements are intensifying."


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