The rise of reverse osmosis means less stainless on tap

Jul 01, 2008 | 06:10 AM |

The global desalination market is expected to keep companies supplying those systems extremely busy not just in the near term, but for the next 20, 30 or even 50 years as fresh water scarcity worsens while technological solutions to address the problem become better and more affordable.

Cedella Beazley, global marketing manager of Filmtec reverse osmosis membranes for Dow Water Solutions, Minneapolis, said there are currently 75 major desalination plants in various stages of development worldwide, including facilities for the treatment of not just saltwater but also brackish water and in some cases wastewater.

She estimated that desalination plant capacity, especially facilities using reverse osmosis technology, will continue to be quite strong, possibly exhibiting low double-digit percentage growth year on year, although the annual growth rate will bounce around a bit based on what big plants are installing one year vs. the next.

It also varies by the kind of water being treated, according to Randolph L. Truby, chief executive officer of Toray Membrane USA Inc., San Diego, who placed the annual growth of seawater desalination at as much as 20 percent while brackish water desalination grows at a "calmer" 3 to 5 percent a year and wastewater treatment at about 10 to 12 percent.....

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