Decreasing supplies and increasing world population has desalination technologies in demand
Depleting water supplies, coupled with increasing demand, are driving the global market for desalination technology, which is expected to reach $52.4 billion by 2020, up 320.3% from $12.5 billion in 2010. According to a recent report from energy research publisher SBI Energy, reverse osmosis membrane technology will see the largest growth, reaching $39.46 billion by 2020.
The increasing world population, which is estimated to reach 7.52 billion by 2020, up from 6.85 billion in 2010, is depleting a limited fresh water supply, with agricultural demands and urbanization leading to more water consumption per person across the globe. According to the report, industrialization is spreading advanced water extraction technology, which in turn is quickly diminishing water resources.
“Economic and population growth are the largest drivers for desalination technology,” said SBI Energy publisher Shelley Carr. “The explosive growth of this market is due to a solution-based alternative to the diminishing supply of the world's most important resource.”
Desalination technology involves extracting salt and other unwanted minerals from salt water or brackish water in order to produce fresh water. There are two types of technologies: thermal, which relies on heat, and membrane, which utilizes semi-permeable membranes to separate salt from seawater and brackish water. According to the report, the cost of desalination is highly influenced by the amount of energy consumed, causing energy efficient membrane technologies—specifically reverse osmosis—to be the most viable option.
“The lower operating costs of membrane technologies, which include reverse osmosis, microfiltration, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration, make them a more attractive option,” said Carr. “This segment will grow significantly more than its thermal counterpart.”
SBI Energy's report, World Desalination Components and Technologies, provides segmented market data for desalination technologies, exhibiting where the growth will occur through 2020. It also profiles fifteen major companies, examines major projects and positions of specific countries, and analyzes trends and growth drivers.