STUDY GOAL AND OBJECTIVES
This comprehensive business opportunity report evaluates the global markets for reverse osmosis (RO) system components. These components include pretreatment cartridges, pumps, pressure vessels/housings, RO membrane modules and ancillary elements such as skids, valves and gauges. Existing and potential markets for RO on the global stage are identified. The goals are to provide meaningful information, unbiased analysis and an assessment of the roles that RO systems can play now and in the future of water treatment technology. Water needs and the role of RO in meeting these requirements are evaluated for four global regions.
The heart of an RO system is the membrane module. Although many different polymer types of semipermeable membrane are possible, the commercial market consists primarily of thin-film composite polyamide formed into a spiral wound configuration. Improved low-pressure membranes, large-diameter membranes and non-fouling membranes have been important technology trends during the past several years. Currently, a number of new materials types are being commercialized.
Pressure vessels/housings are critical to the successful operation of RO and nanofiltration (NF), or membrane softening, systems. Fiberglass-reinforced plastic and stainless steel pressure vessels are the predominant types associated with industrial and municipal RO systems. RO operation tends to fall into three distinct operating pressure ranges: low-pressure, 40 psi to 65 psi range; mid-range operating pressure for brackish water and waste water, 150 psi to 250 psi; and high-pressure RO is for seawater desalination, 800 psi to 1,200 psi range. Pressure vessels are designed to last for the lifetime of the system, or about three to four changes of membranes.
Using membrane or depth filter cartridges prior to RO maximizes pure water production and minimizes the costs associated with chemical additives. Cartridges used for RO pretreatment can be depth filters, dead-end membrane microfilters or microfiltration (MF) membranes operated in crossflow. With proper pretreatment, the RO system can meet design specifications, resulting in optimum performance and the lowest overall expenditure.
Although pumps used in RO systems represent a relatively small percentage of total system cost, they must be selected carefully to avoid inefficient operation, downtime, or reduced productivity and return on investment. The choice of a proper pump is especially important in seawater desalination applications because of the corrosive atmosphere and highly demanding process conditions. Positive displacement plunger pumps or centrifugal pumps are most commonly used in RO applications. Booster pumps, a much smaller market, can be used in situations where normal system pressure is low, but needs to be increased.
Numerous ancillary and miscellaneous components are needed to complete the construction of a large, complex RO system. Depending on system size and application, these may include valves, gauges, computer controls, hoses, piping, plugs, racks, skids, holding tanks, manifolds, control panels, conductivity meters, float switches, metering equipment and tanks for chemicals. What type and how many of these components are used in a particular plant depend on the site and size of the RO system.
For RO consumables, membranes and filters, new as well as replacement sales are considered in this report. As far as possible, adjustments and normalizations for currency valuations have been made.
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