Advanced Water Treatment for the Power Generation Industry

Published - Jan 2004| Analyst - Susan Hanft| Code - MST038A
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. market for advanced water treatments for power producers is estimated at $487 million in 2003. Rising at an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 8.3%, sales are expected to reach $726 million by 2008.
  • In addition to water quantity and quality issues, plans for constructing new generating facilities and upgrades to existing operations are driving the market.
  • The replacement markets for consumable ion exchange resins and membranes alone were valued at about $110 million in 2003.
  • During the forecast period, both reverse osmosis and electrodeionization will see both increased use at the expense of ion exchange methods.
  • Hybrid systems combining a train of advanced techniques provide the most comprehensive water treatment at the best price.


Needed in vast quantities to produce steam and for cooling purposes, U.S. power producers use more than 70 trillion gallons of water annually. To effectively use water within a plant, it must be treated to meet each individual site’s needs. These vary with the influent source water quality, type of boiler, discharge requirements and whether or not “used” water is recycled within the plant.

Globally, water treatment for the power generation industry is estimated at more than 30% of all industrial water treatment sales. Historically, power producers have used a combination of coagulation, flocculation and ion exchange resin beds to create high-purity water for making steam. But, more advanced water treatment methods including membrane technology, electrodeionization and some novel disinfection methods are gaining ground.

Although U.S. electricity demand is expected to only grow at about 2% annually to 2025, the market for advanced water treatment will increase at a higher rate. Power plants are choosing advanced water treatments for a number of reasons: the need to reduce treatment costs, community pressure to minimize water use and find alternate sources, and increasingly stringent regulations to improve water discharge quality.

This timely BCC technical market report provides an in-depth analysis of the U.S. market for advanced water treatment for the power generation industry. These methods include membrane filtration, ion exchange, electrodeionization, and emerging processes using ozone and ultraviolet light coupled under the heading, “novel technologies.” Advanced technologies are known for their improved effectiveness against contaminants, decreased waste production, nonhazardous properties, diminished chemical additive use, and, sometimes, lower energy requirements.


The report contains:

  • Analysis of the market for four categories of water treatment:
        - membrane filtration
        - ion exchange
        - electrodeionization, combining ion exchange and membranes
        - emerging novel methods such as ozone and ultraviolet light
  • Five-year projections, through 2008, for market activity and value
  • Coverage of industry structure, technological trends, pricing considerations, R&D, government regulations, company profiles and competitive technologies.


A comprehensive literature, patent, and Internet search was undertaken, and key industry players were queried. News and current developments in the field are evaluated in BCC, Inc.'s monthly newsletters, Water Technology News and Membrane & Separation Technology News.

Growth rates were calculated based on existing and proposed equipment sales during the forecast period. Consumables used in the processes, replacement membranes, resins, etc., were also taken into account. Values are given in U.S. dollars; forecasts are made in constant U.S. dollars, and growth rates are compounded. Calculations for system sales do not include design or engineering costs.


In addition to data from BCC, Inc.'s related monthly newsletters, other information in this report was gleaned from many different sources. Figures on U.S. electricity production, capacity, new plants and user demand are based on statistics from the Energy Information Administration. Department of Commerce numbers on water/wastewater expenditures are quoted in the section describing international markets. SEC filings, annual reports, patent literature, , scientific and industry journals, government reports, census information, conference literature, patent documents, on-line resources were researched. Interviews with industry participants also were conducted.


Susan Hanft is the editor of the BCC newsletter Membrane and Separation Technology News and has authored numerous technical market reports in the areas of membranes and waste treatment. Ms. Hanft has been with BCC for over 5 years. BFA, University of Houston.

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