Demand for water treatment chemicals in the U.S. will rise 3.2 percent per annum to 15.2 billion pounds/yr, a $6.6 billion market, in 2017. This demand, according to analyst Freedonia Group, will come from the oil and gas production market, the mining industry, and greater use of scale control and other products to protect water treatment equipment. Water recycling and reuse will also cause chemical demand to grow.
Freedonia says scale and foam control agents will be the fastest growing water treatment chemical types in the next four to five years. It notes that as industrial users make more investments into water treatment equipment, so will they invest in chemicals that help them avoid fouling, scaling, foaming, and corrosion in their equipment. However, biocides will be restrained by rising use of disinfection equipment and federal rules, the Cleveland-based analyst says.
So the corrosion inhibitor market is expected to recover from price declines of the previous five years. The pH control arena will be supported by water recycling efforts, but it will continue leveraging low-cost commodity chemicals for pH adjustment. Meanwhile, the use of coagulants and flocculants will be supported by greater use of membrane separation systems and emphasis on reducing sludge volumes, according to Freedonia.
The mining and energy markets are projected to show the fastest growth through 2017. An expected increase in mine output and a continued emphasis on water remediation will support water treatment chemical demand. On the energy side, demand will be fueled by hydraulic fracturing activities in oil and gas production. Here, tighter wastewater restrictions and greater water reuse both will lead water treatment chemical growth.