Rapid industrial growth has affected the environment in a negative manner. A majority of industries rely on water at all stages of a process. Water can be used as a solvent, energy source, coolant, transport agent, or raw material. The industrial waste water, if not treated, is considered as a potential threat to the environment. If properly managed, treated, and re-used; wastewater cannot be seen as a pollutant. Instead, this can be seen as a solution to meet high demand for water in industries. This leads to the necessity for effective water treatment plants. A water treatment plant should have characteristic features such as high reduction ratio in BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). The zero liquid discharge (ZLD) is a proven technology which significantly eliminates wastewater effluents and recovers the water for re-use. A zero liquid discharge system adopts advanced water treatment processes to recover around 95% of the wastewater for re-use. It also retrieves salts as byproducts and any disposal is solid waste that can be easily buried.
Based on the system adopted, the zero liquid discharge systems market can be segmented into crystallization, evaporation, and hybrid. Crystallization and evaporation are the conventional methods being used right from the evolution of zero liquid discharge systems. Both these systems, if used alone, are expensive. They need to be combined with another membrane processes such as reverse osmosis (RO) or electrodialysis reversal (EDR). This combining makes the zero discharge system a hybrid. The hybrid system aims at reducing the capital cost and increasing the efficiency of the zero liquid discharge system by incorporating less expensive components into the system. Moreover, to make the zero liquid discharge system cost–effective, it is always good to design the system based on the feed rate of water.
Based on end-user industry, the market for zero liquid discharge systems can be segregated into textile, power plants, tannery, food & beverages, plating & metal finishing, semiconductor manufacturing, printed circuit board manufacturing, energy, petrochemical, PVC manufacturing, mining, and oil refining.
Geographically, the zero liquid discharge (ZLD) systems market can be classified into Europe, North America, Latin America, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific. Changes in environmental regulations for industries are expected to augment the ZLD systems markets in North America and Europe. Water scarcity and the need for water re-usability are factors anticipated to drive the market in the Middle East during the forecast period. Industrial development, changes in environmental norms, implementation of water discharge laws, increase in CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities are the major factors expected to fuel the demand for zero liquid discharge systems in Asia Pacific in the next few years.
Key players operating in the global ZLD systems market are Aquatech International (the U.S.), GE Power Water & Process Technologies (the U.S.), MEDAD Technologies (Singapore), Veolia Water Technologies (France), Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (Japan), GEA Group (Germany), Memsys (Singapore), Purifics Water Inc. (Canada), Ovivo (the U.S.), Gradiant Corporation (the U.S.), Creative Water Technology (Australia), Aqua Green (Israel), Aquarion AG (Switzerland), Praj Industries Ltd. (India), and Oasys Water Inc. (the U.S.). GE’s zero liquid discharge system uses highly efficient brine concentrators and crystallizers. Brine concentrators and crystallizers developed by GE are corrosion–resistant. Also, they have scale control, ability to run on electricity or steam, adaptability to variable waste flows, and fully automated operations. The zero liquid discharge technology adopted by Aquatech is a standalone thermal/evaporative process, a membrane process, or a combination of both resulting in added value, ease of operation, and low operating cost.
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The global zero liquid discharge systems market is expanding, on account of strict environmental regulations and scarcity of freshwater. However, high capital cost and operational cost and intensive energy consumption are factors likely to act as restraints for growth of the zero liquid discharge systems market in the next few years.