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High Population Growth Rates, Rapid Urbanization and Industrialization Set to Increase the Need for Increased Global Desalination Capacity

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Desalination Market to 2020 - Technology Driven CostReduction in Membrane Based Processes set to DriveSustainability Investments into the Market


High Population Growth Rates, Rapid Urbanization and Industrialization Set to Increase the Need for Increased Global Desalination Capacity

The global desalination market has shown an upward trend over recent years. The global cumulative contracted capacity has grown from 46.6 million cubic meters per day (m³/day) in 2005 to 67.3 million m³/day in 2009, at a cumulative average growth rate (CAGR) of 9.6%.GBI Research anticipates the global cumulative contracted capacity of the market to grow at a CAGR of 10.5%

during the forecast period 2010–2020 to reach 195.8 million m³/day in 2020. High population growth, increasing water shortages, limited freshwater supplies, rapid urbanization, industrial expansion, growing tourist industries and increasing saltwater intrusion into the aquifers are the major factors driving the need for increase in the global desalination capacity.

More than half of the global desalination capacity is located in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as of 2009. Increasing water shortages, increasing urbanization and industrialization and high population growth rates in various countries of MENA region such as Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Qatar and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) are the main factors for the increasing adaptation of desalination as an option for producing fresh water. Desalination is gaining wide acceptance in Asia-Pacific countries like China, India and Australia, where a large crosssection of the population live in coastal regions with limited fresh water resources. Desalination is also gaining ground in the North American


region. Almost all the states of the US have desalination plants and most of them are designed specifically for industrial uses. In Europe, desalination is

primarily used for municipal purposes, but the industrial applications of desalinated water are now also increasing. Spain is among the top five countries for desalination in the world. Growing tourism industry in Europe particularly in Spain is also propelling the need for increasing the desalination


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Increasing Water Shortage and Technology-driven Cost Reductions are

Driving the Desalination Market

Increasing water shortages are one of the key drivers for the desalination market. The sources of natural fresh water are limited, and are being over-exploited all across the globe for various purposes. This has caused great strain on these existing limited water resources, and prompted governments across the globe to look for alternatives. Desalination is considered one of the most


feasible solutions to tackle the problem of increasing water shortages. Desalination is no longer seen as a costly option for producing fresh and pure water. Technological advancements have reduced the cost of desalination considerably. The overall capital and operating costs of the desalination plants have reduced significantly over the years. This cost reduction in installation and

operation of plants has encourageed the smaller and less developed nations in the Middle East to adopt desalination as a solution for their increasing water needs.

Membrane-based Processes and Particularly the Reverse Osmosis Process are the Technology of the Future Desalination Market

Technology-based cost reductions have helped membrane-based desalination technologies to strengthen their position in the market as the best process for desalination. GBI Research anticipates that membrane-based cumulative contracted desalination capacity to grow at a CAGR of 11.6% for the forecast period 2010–2020 to reach 128.6 million m³/day in 2020 from 43.7 million

m³/day in 2010. Membrane-based technology is widely used for desalinating brackish water in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Many countries in the MENA region are now adopting membrane desalination to meet their growing water demand. There are many factors which led to wide acceptance of the membrane technologies. This includes technological improvements in

membranes to increase their functional lives and reduce their vulnerability to


fouling. The membrane-based technologies require less energy as compared to thermal-based technologies, thereby reducing the overall operating cost.

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High Energy Cost and Adverse Environmental Effects of Desalination are

the Key Restraints of the Desalination Market

Desalination plants, especially thermal desalination plants, consume huge amounts of energy for their operation, and as a result the overall operating cost of these plants is high. High operating expenditures increase the cost of desalinated water, prompting people to look for other alternative

solutions like water reuse and recycling. Middle Eastern countries with very large oil reserves can meet this high energy requirement internally, but for countries with limited fossil fuel resources, high energy requirements become a major constraint to their adoption of desalination technology.Technological advancements are required to reduce these huge energy requirements. Some

countries like India and Japan are also developing nuclear desalination plants to


meet the high energy requirements of desalination plants. Desalination plants discharge wastewater (brine),which affects their coastal water quality. The brine contains residual chemicals from pre-treatment phases, heavy metals and intermittently-used cleansing agents. It increases the temperature and

decreases the oxygen content of the seawater, adversely affecting marine life. Gaseous pollutants from the desalination plants such as carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide have serious effects on human health and the environment. Desalination plants across the globe are taking measures such as the treatment of brine to remove harmful chemicals before

being discharged into sea to minimise the adverse affects of desalination. However, the implementation of these measures increases the capital expenditure of the desalination plants as well.

GBI Research's new report, “Desalination Market to 2020 - Technology Driven Cost Reduction in Membrane Based Processes set to Drive Sustainability Investments into the Market“ provides key information and analysis on the market opportunities in the global desalination market.The report provides the latest information on the cumulative contracted desalination capacity of the

various geographies. It gives detailed assessment of the market forces influencing the desalination market. The report also provides analysis of key desalination countries which includes Saudi Arabia, the US, UAE, Spain, Kuwait, Algeria, China, Qatar, Japan, Australia and India. It also provides


information on the membrane and thermal based technologies used for desalination.

This report is built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research and in-house analysis by GBI Research's team of industry experts

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Visit our report store:

For more details contact:

North America: +1 646 395 5477

Europe: +44 207 753 4299

+44 1204 543 533

Asia Pacific: +91 40 6616 6782