A study recently conducted by the strategic consulting and market research firm BlueWeave Consulting revealed that the global water treatment chemicals market was worth USD 35.1 billion in 2020 and is further projected to reach USD 65.2 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 8.90% during the forecast period (2021-2027). The market is driven by increasing methane contamination in water due to shale gas exploration, increasing demand from industrial & municipal wastewater treatment, stringent regulations, and rising concern regarding environmental sustainability.
Increasing methane contamination in water due to shale gas exploration driving the market
Natural gas trapped inside the shale formation is known as shale gas. Fine-grained sedimentary rocks, generally known as shale, can be a rich source of petroleum and natural gas. Natural gas is usually trapped within the pores of sedimentary rocks. Shale gas is becoming increasingly popular because it is considered a â€œcleanerâ€ energy source than coal, emitting less than half the CO2. A study was conducted by U.S. researchers in 2011 to measure the methane contamination in 68 wells that drew water for human consumption from underground natural resources across northeast Pennsylvania, and New York State. It revealed that methane concentration was almost 17 times higher in wells near the shale gas production site. The contamination level increased with increasing proximity to the active shale gas production site.
Shale gas mining uses around 4 to 24 million liters of fresh water in each hydraulic fracturing event to produce shale gas. The water used generally passes through the pores and gets mixed with the groundwater used for human consumption. Water used in hydraulic fracturing of shale gas is contaminated with chemicals. Since the water contains a high percentage of methane, it contaminates groundwater as it reacts with it. The water is unfit for human consumption due to high levels of contamination. Thus, more and more water treatment plants are being constructed to eliminate contaminants. Since shale gas is regarded as a game-changer in the energy sector, exploration projects are also expected to grow in the future. Additionally, to mitigate the issue of contamination, the demand for water treatment chemicals is expected to rise during the forecast period.
Increasing demand from industrial and municipal wastewater treatment driving market growth
According to International Water Association, around 80% of the worldâ€™s wastewater is dumped right back into the environment, without treatment. Consequently, it pollutes the environment and reduces the supply of fresh water. In 2020, a study conducted by Utrecht University and the United Nations University Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) estimated that around 359.4Ã—109â€‰m3 of wastewater is generated annually, with only 52% of it being treated before being released. For a long time, governments and environmental organizations around the world have been advocating the use of industrial and urban wastewater treatment. Companies are encouraged to install wastewater treatment plants and release only contaminant-free water into the environment. The need for industrial and urban wastewater treatment is growing by the day, and it is expected to drive the global water treatment chemicals market during the forecast period, as demand for fresh water is expected to increase by one-third by 2030.
Alternative water treatment methods hampering the growth of the global water treatment chemicals market
There are several methods for treating water, with the chemical method being one of them. Chemical water treatment is used for large-scale and small-scale operations, but the cost of chemicals also goes up as the volume of water goes up. Chemical water treatment methods also have an additional issue of sludge disposal. Electric field, magnetic field, electromagnetic field, ultra-violet (UV), cavitation, and ozone generation devices are examples of non-chemical water treatment methods. Apart from these, some new and upcoming water treatment processes like biological filtration, electro-deposition, electro-deionization, ozone, and others are also gaining popularity worldwide. Thus, associated costs, additional risks, and plenty of available alternatives may restrict the growth of the global water treatment chemicals market during the forecast period.
The municipal segment held the largest share in the global water treatment chemicals market in 2020
Based on end-users, the municipal segment accounted for the largest share in the global water treatment chemicals market. According to data released by the Indian government in December 2015, India produces about 62,000 million liters per day (MLD) of urban wastewater with a treatment capacity of just 23,277 MLD. According to the European Federation of National Associations of Drinking Water Suppliers and Wastewater Services, Europeans consume an average of 128 liters of water per day, the bulk of which is disposed of as municipal wastewater. Over 18,000 wastewater treatment plants exist throughout Europe, with annual revenue of over USD 50 billion. In EU-27 countries, around 69% of the population is connected to tertiary level water treatment with secondary level water treatment available to 13%. Since water consumption is growing every day, the municipal segment is expected to rise significantly during the forecast period.
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Global Water Treatment Chemicals Market: Regional insights
The global water treatment chemicals market is segmented into the Asia-Pacific (APAC), North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa regions. North America is the leading region in global water treatment chemicals market. According to United Nations, North America generates about 85 cubic kilometers of wastewater every year, out of which 75% is treated. There are more than 16,000 wastewater treatment plants in the US. Moreover, around 1,200 wastewater treatment plants, over 6,000 wastewater pump stations, nearly 5,000 wastewater lift stations, over 1,200 lagoon systems, and nearly 700 wastewater storage tanks were operated by Canadian provincial and local governments in 2016. The North American region’s significant market share in the global water treatment chemicals market is due to a high volume of wastewater generation, increased water consumption, strong financials and infrastructure, and the government’s encouragement to build water treatment facilities.
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