US$4bn market for ultrapure water systems by 2009

Paul Boughton

By 2009 the market for ultrapure water systems (UPW) will be US$4billion worldwide. This is twice the size of the 200l market according to the McIlvaine Company, Northfield, Il in their latest forecasts displayed in the online, Ultrapure Water World Markets.

UPW systems provide the contaminant free water used in human injectables, super critical coal-fired boiler steam systems, and in chip cleaning in the semiconductor industry.

The largest segment is the semiconductor industry. UPW systems sales will exceed US$1.7billion in 2009. Much of the growth will come from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and China.

The most rapidly growing segment is in flat panel displays. Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) are the most common type of flat panel displays and have been widely used since the early 1970s. LCDs account for about 80percent of the entire flat panel market. Thin-film transistor liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCDs) are the largest LCD sub-segment.
TFT-LCDs are used in notebook computers, desktop monitors and TVs.

Taiwan and South Korea are competing for leadership in key display segments. In 2004, South Korea had a 46percent share of worldwide TFT-LCD shipments, compared to Taiwan's 44percent. Taiwan is expected to overtake South Korea in TFT-LCD manufacturing output by 2006.

The pharmaceutical purchases of UPW systems continue to grow at a steady 8percent per year and will exceed US$300million worldwide in 2009. Within this sector biotech is growing much faster than the total pharmaceutical UPW systems market. Global biotechnology industry revenues grew by 17percent in 2004 to US$55billion, led by the US with US$43billion in revenues.

India’s biotech industry will generate sales of US$1billion this year, up from about US$700million in 2004, and is on track to increase sales to US$4.8billion by 2009.

There is a big transition in the power segment where sales of UPW systems for coal-fired boilers are increasing. Whereas sales of UPW systems for gas turbine combined cycle have plummeted and are now slowly recovering. In 2009 there will be UPW systems purchases for coal-fired boilers exceeding US$1billion. This compares to US$50million which will be spent for UPW systems for gas turbines.

The latest super critical coal-fired boilers deliver higher efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions. But with the high temperatures and pressures, the water purity requirements are greater than with sub critical boilers.

UPW systems are highly instrumented. In 2009 purchases of instruments and controls for UPW systems will exceed US$500million. Purchases of membranes and membrane systems will reach US$600million.