Seawater and Brackish Water Desalination

Sep 2010| MST052B| BCC Publishing

Report Highlights

  • The 2010 market value for desalination plant equipment is estimated at $2.9 billion, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8%.  By 2015, the total global market worth is expected to reach $5.5 billion.
  • Sales of reverse osmosis (RO) equipment currently account for nearly 95%, or $1.4 billion, of the 2010 membrane-based desalination market.  Globally, RO is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5% for desalination applications over the next 5 years to reach a value of nearly $3.2 billion in 2015.
  • Thermal desalination methods have been losing market share to RO for the past several years, a trend that is expected to continue. The market for thermal-based desalination equipment is estimated to reach nearly $1.4 billion by the end of 2010 and rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.7% to reach $2.2 billion in 2015.


This comprehensive technology market research report evaluates the global markets for saline water desalination plants. The goals are to provide meaningful information, unbiased analysis, and an assessment of the roles that desalination can play now and in the future of water treatment technology. Technical aspects of both thermal and membrane desalination processes are outlined, as well as a few alternative techniques that may be viable in the future. The report analyzes the water needs of 45 countries in five world regions. Known projects by country for the next 5 to 10 years are presented, along with estimated capacity additions, market values, and growth rates for each world region.
The need for pure water is a problem of global proportions. With each passing year, the quality of the planet’s water measurably deteriorates, presenting challenges for the major users. Water treatment has become an area of global concern as individuals, communities, industries, countries, and their national institutions strive for ways to keep this essential resource available and suitable for use.
During the past 25 years, desalination systems have emerged as effective solutions for transforming saline, brackish, and contaminated water into useable and/or potable products. In addition to technical advances in the processes, parallel price drops in the processes, especially membrane-based methods, have made desalination affordable for countries that were previously unable to consider the possibility. This has created a robust and rapidly growing market in which projects and corporate developments are constantly evolving.
This report is designed to be as comprehensive as possible. It is created to be useable by a broad audience of business, technical, and regulatory practitioners on a global scale. This document is an information source on the industry, a reference manual on desalination technology, and a data resource for decision-makers who must stay abreast of the state of the art. This report presents analysis and forward-thinking knowledge that will be advantageous to manufacturers and suppliers, as well as to local, state, and federal governments and foreign legislatures. Engineers, utilities, and corporate planners will benefit from accessing information on the global demand for desalination plants. 
This study presents an overview of the technical aspects of the well-known thermal desalination methods (i.e., multistage flash distillation, multi-effect distillation, vapor compression), membrane desalination processes (i.e., reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, and a few novel desalination methods (e.g., freezing, gas hydrate formation, membrane distillation, capacitive deionization). 
Capital costs for thermal and membrane plants, as well as operating cost breakdowns, are given to illustrate the average expense of constructing various water plant types. These cost estimates are then used to calculate market sizes. A review of proposed projects is listed in individual country outlooks, and estimates for regional desalination capacity additions, market sizes, and predicted market growth rates are presented for five world regions: the U.S. and Canada, Europe, the Middle East/Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America/Caribbean.
Research for this report began with a re-analysis of the available technical and business literature, as well as an evaluation of the personal records of the water treatment industry available to the author. Conversations with industry experts and company representatives, along with a review of their published works, provide the backbone for an evaluation of the desalination industry. 
Information sources for the study also include online research, patent literature, and technical journals. In evaluating the global market, information was obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of State, Aquastat, the United Nation’s Global Water Information System, and publications from the International Desalination Association, the European Desalination Association, and the Middle East Desalination Research Center.
During the past 14 years, Susan Hanft has authored more than 30 market opportunity reports for BCC Research in the fields of membrane technology, water and wastewater treatment, and separations used in food and beverage manufacture, medicine, and biotechnology.
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The information developed in this report is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice, nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature. The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or from its use.

Table of Contents & Pricing

All reports provided in PDF format. For shared licensing options (5+ Users), please call a representative at (+1) 781-489-7301 or contact us at
Title/Chapter NamePagesPrice Member Price
Full Report: Seawater and Brackish Water Desalination235 $2,750 Free
Chapter- 1: INTRODUCTION3Free
Chapter- 2: SUMMARY4$250Free
Chapter- 3: TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW17$199Free
Chapter- 6: OTHER TECHNOLOGIES7$82Free
Chapter- 8: PATENT ANALYSIS5$59Free
Chapter- 10: INDUSTRY STRUCTURE57$667Free
Chapter- 11: APPENDIX PATENT SURVEYS17$199Free
Published - Jan-2008| Analyst - Susan Hanft| Code - MST052A

Report Highlights

  • The global market for seawater and brackish water desalination plants increased from $1.7 billion in 2005 to $1.9 billion in 2007. It should reach $3.7 billion by 2012, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.7%.
  • There are more than 24,000,000 M3/day of desalination capacity on the global drawing board, slated for construction in the next 5 to 10 years.
  • Water stress and shortage are the primary factors driving the market for desalination technology.
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