With municipal water in the United States and across the globe requiring disinfection to eradicate microbes such as cryptosporidium and giardia, new analysis from research firm Frost & Sullivan indicates that the ultraviolet water and wastewater disinfection systems market earned revenues of $388.3 million in 2008, and estimates this to reach $629.8 million in 2015. Water quality remains an issue for many hospitals in cities struggling with disinfection issues.
In response to this need for disinefcted water, the adoption of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection systems in municipal water treatment plants has been encouraged, due to the proven efficacy of UV in treating such microbes. This trend, along with the recent ratification of legislation favouring UV methods, bodes well for the market, according to Frost & Sullivan .
Many major cities such as New York, Cincinnati, Paris and Washington, D.C. have already installed UV disinfection systems in their water treatment facilities. Likewise, present European legislation such as the Bathing Water Directive and Drinking Water Directive continue to greatly enhance the implementation of UV systems in the wastewater and water treatment segments.
"UV disinfection systems are widely used in industries that employ high-purity water in their manufacturing process," says Frost & Sullivan research analyst Karthikeyan Ravikumar. "Certain industrial segments such as pharmaceuticals and life science, which prefer non-chemical based disinfection methods, have increased the demand for high-purity water systems and thereby, UV disinfection systems."
Despite the considerable advantages of UV disinfection systems, the high capital costs of UV, as compared to those of the conventional chlorine-based disinfection methods, have prevented its penetration in price-sensitive markets. However, the cost imbalance may be reversing. Several leading nations have recently introduced directives to control the amount of chlorine discharged from wastewater plants. As a result, additional costs to de-chlorinate the water before discharging are incurred, resulting in a substantial increase in the overall cost of chlorine-based disinfection. This process of chlorination and de-chlorination is far more expensive than the UV system, making UV more cost-effective.
Optimism regarding future UV market trends is justified further by the general tendency among industrial plants to avoid chlorine-based disinfection systems. Due to the presence of residual chemicals in chlorine-based process water which could affect the manufacturing process, industrial plants are looking elsewhere for safer disinfection methods.
"Additionally, the rising demand and simultaneous scarcity of potable water have led to growing interest in water reuse and recycling in many regions across the globe," notes Ravikumar. "With UV disinfection forming a very essential part of the water reuse and recycling system, the market is expected to experience increased investments."