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Water, wastewater treatment solutions gaining in importance as demand for power increases

According to reports, a growing need for power translates into investments in water and wastewater treatment solutions for the installation of new power plants.

It also requires retrofitting of new technologies in existing plants, according to an analysis by Frost & Sullivan.

Rapid urbanisation, growth in industrialisation and rising standards of living in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) have spawned a higher need for electricity, particularly in emerging countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, it added.

The market for Water and Wastewater Treatment (WWWT) solutions in the power industry earned revenues of $363.3 million in 2011 and estimates this to reach $477.1 million in 2016. Water reuse and minimisation in power plants are gaining currency as a viable approach to address the issue of industrial water shortage, as well as the rising costs of water.

“The power industry is always looking for the most cost-effective technology for treating its process water and wastewater. With technological advancements, the power industry, as a whole, is becoming more willing to invest in WWWT solutions,” a Frost & Sullivan analyst said.

Nevertheless, the industry will continue to favour membrane technologies for treating makeup water and cooling water.

Advanced membrane filtration systems such as reverse osmosis (RO) for water treatment reduce the amount of chemicals used onsite and improve the overall water efficiency. The WWWT market has begun to promote sustainable solutions and low carbon footprint, especially among bigger power plants.

“Almost all countries in the APAC market have rigorous laws and regulations concerning water pollution and control. Once the governments of these developing countries ensure their strict enforcement, the WWWT market will have a wider client base and newer revenue streams,” the analyst said.

Meanwhile, the establishment of new nuclear power plants in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam will intensify the demand for WWWT solutions in these countries. However, the largest revenue contributors are expected to be Japan and Korea. The rest of APAC will experience a steady increase in revenue in all the three vertical markets of nuclear, natural gas and coal, with coal being the highest grossing market.

Participants are optimistic about WWWT’s prospects in the power industry, as water treatment is a crucial process in all power plant operations. Still, the high investment costs of WWWT solutions hinder their expansion efforts, especially among small-scale power producers.

End-users try to do the barest minimum to meet wastewater quality standards, as they consider investments in WWWT solutions unnecessary. WWWT equipment suppliers can offset this issue to some extent by lowering their prices, maintaining a strong local presence and offering robust after-sales service. The market will also get a leg up from the increasingly stringent legislation and regulatory requirements regarding wastewater discharge.

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