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Water Treatment at IFAT 2014: Disinfection Systems in demand Worldwide

MUNICH/GERMANY, September 5, 2013 - The extraction and processing of water, and treatment of wastewater and sewage, are core themes at the world’s leading environmental technology trade show, IFAT. At the last event in 2012, these subjects took up around 115,000 sqm of space out of an exhibition total of 215,000 sqm. For the next IFAT, which takes place from May 5 to 9, 2014, Messe München is expecting exhibitor participation in these segments to again be high – not least because of the ever increasing importance of this whole field.

Revenues in the world market for disinfection systems for water and wastewater are set to reach close on three billion US-dollars in 2019. That is the forecast in a recent study by international corporate consultants Frost & Sullivan. For 2012 the analysts put a figure of almost two billion US-dollars on the world market. For the coming years their prediction is for consistent market growth of over six percent per year.

A number of reasons lie behind these high growth expectations. The global trends towards urbanization and industrialization, for example, are leading to ever more intensive use, treatment and re-use of the scarce resource of water. Vandhana Ravi, a Frost & Sullivan analyst and one of the authors of the report, said: "In addition to its function in the provision of drinking water supplies, disinfection will become increasingly important in the treatment of water for use in processing, for example in non-food irrigation or industrial cooling." In his opinion the water-intensive industries in particular, such an energy-generation, food and beverages production or pharmaceuticals, will drive the market for water and wastewater disinfection.

Other market drivers will be tighter regulatory measures, such as the EU directive on drinking water, the European directive on the treatment of local-authority wastewater, and the Clean Water Act in the US. Currently a good 60 percent of worldwide revenues in water and wastewater disinfection systems are achieved in sales to local authorities, around 40 percent in industrial applications.

Chlorination, ozonation, electrolysis, UV irradiation, microfiltration, thermal treatment: international manufacturers and system suppliers offer a wide spectrum of techniques for achieving bacteria-free or low-bacteria water. However the relatively high investment and operating costs for some of these systems is hampering their use, in particular in developing and emerging countries. "These nations still prefer cost-effective solutions, even if this means sacrificing product quality," adds Ravi. "Which means that in the Asia-Pacific region, in Africa and in the Middle East, chlorine gas is still generally used for disinfection, although there are considerably environmental risks involved in handling this poisonous substance." It is the job of the environmental technology sector to develop sustainable, high-performance and nevertheless affordable solutions for these markets. An appeal that the exhibitors at IFAT 2014 will certainly be happy to heed.