The global zero liquid discharge (ZLD) systems market was valued at USD 5958.19 million in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 4,853.58 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.62% during the forecast period (2022-2030). The term "zero liquid discharge" (ZLD) systems is a systematic approach to wastewater treatment used to handle industrial plant discharges and stop liquid effluents from entering aquatic bodies. They comprise apparatus and instruments for reverse osmosis, crystallization, fractional electrodeionization (EDI), and ultrafiltration. For the recovery and recycling of water, ZLD systems use membrane-based, multiple effects, and crystallizer-based evaporation technologies. Additionally, these technologies make recycling and reusing wastewater easier, reducing the need for freshwater infiltration. As a result, they are often employed in desalination and power plants, textile manufacturers, chemical plants, bulk medicine manufacturing facilities, and process industries.
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Increasing Demand for Freshwater
Overall, the zero liquid discharge system assists in keeping effluents out of freshwater streams and can serve as a substitute resource to help meet the demand for freshwater resources. Due to the diminishing freshwater resources, wastewater treatment applications are increasing, which is predicted to significantly impact the development of zero liquid discharge systems during the projection period. The tight regulations for wastewater treatment and the need to reduce water use are factors that any business must consider in the current scenario. Numerous industrial establishments have used zero-liquid discharge (ZLD) systems as a solution due to stringent permitting procedures, countless environmental laws, and a lack of water supply.
More Stringent Regulations for Wastewater Disposal
Some initiatives designed to preserve freshwater include the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program, National and Local Pretreatment Standards, Sewage Sludge Use and Disposal Program, and Water Quality Management. As the threat of pollution to human health and the environment grew, Japan's Water Pollution Control Law was passed in 1971 to regulate water discharges from enterprises and industries to public waters. As the need for environmental protection becomes more widely recognized, numerous industrial facilities and effluent regulators are strengthening policies to reduce industrial process waste by implementing zero liquid discharge (ZLD) systems, thereby limiting the liquid waste at the end of industrial processes. Overall, the demand for Zero Liquid Discharge Systems Market has been driven by the expanding rules in several nations worldwide for limiting the discharge of industrial effluents into freshwater streams. Due to the megatrends of urbanization and industrialization, more significant stress is being placed on the environment, especially the world's freshwater supplies.
High Capital and Energy Cost of Technology
With all the required equipment, engineering, design, installation, and startup costs included, the price of a ZLD system with a flow rate of one to three thousand gallons per minute may range from USD 25 million to USD 50 million. Similar to this, one to twenty-gallon-per-minute ZLD systems range in price from USD 250,000 to USD 2,000,000. Pretreatment is comparable to primary wastewater treatment in cost and effectiveness. Despite being slightly more expensive, membrane processes are similar to those used in water treatment and purification. The garbage is concentrated in these high levels to produce higher recovery rates. The evaporation and crystallization parts can have the highest amounts. The evaporation/crystallization block may account for 60–70% of the equipment cost overall, whereas front-end pretreatment and RO may account for 30%–40% of the price. These values will fluctuate more as the system gets more extensive.
Growing Demand in Power Generation Industry
The power generation sector controls the market for zero liquid discharge systems. Power plant owners place high importance on water management, and applying ZLD can stop wastewater discharge. Zero liquid discharge is significant for the steam electric power sector since water discharge from coal-fired power plants is more complex and requires more water. Coal-fired power facilities in China produce almost 70% of the nation's total electricity. Also, the majority of thermal power facilities are situated in areas with limited water supplies. The struggle between China's water shortage and energy demand drives up ZLD demand. According to the World Energy Outlook- International Energy Agency, it is anticipated that more than 2,457 gigawatts (GW) of electricity capacity will likely be installed globally over the next 25 years.
The global zero liquid discharge (ZLD) systems market is segmented by technology and end-user industry.
Based on technology, the global ZLD systems market is bifurcated into thermal-based and membrane-based.
The thermal-based segment owns the highest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.92% during the forecast period. The oldest and most prevalent technology for zero-liquid discharge applications worldwide is the thermal-based ZLD system. Heat exchangers are frequently utilized for the thermal-based ZLD process of wastewater treatment. The treatment and utilization of wastewater created by the massive amounts of water that the coal chemical industry uses and discharges present a significant difficulty. As a result, most coal firms treat coal chemical effluent using thermal-based methods. Evaporation/concentration, product cooling, and crystallization are standard processing stages. In thermal-based ZLD systems, brine concentrators are crucial. They are primarily used in mechanical vapor compression evaporation processes. Thermal-based ZLD systems are expected to lose market share to membrane-based ZLD systems over the forecast period, despite being the largest and most widely used technology by significant end-user industries.
The importance of membrane-based technology outpaces that of conventional thermal-based ZLD systems. The significantly lower initial investment costs of membrane-based systems and the general sizing of the evaporation equipment are a few of the causes. The three main types of processes taken into account by membrane-based ZLD systems are electrodialysis (ED), forward osmosis (FO), and membrane distillation (MD). One of the methods above is used to treat the wastewater before producing the brine. In a later stage, ZLD is achieved by employing brine crystallizers or evaporation to increase the concentration of the brine. Along with ED's substantially larger desalination capacity than the thermal process, the less fouling propensity of FO in comparison to RO in thermal-based systems is a significant factor driving demand for membrane-based ZLD. Although this technique uses more energy than thermal-based processes, it is mainly used because it is more effective at cleaning.
Based on the end-user industry, the global ZLD systems market is bifurcated into power, oil and gas, metallurgy and mining, chemicals and petrochemicals, pharmaceutical, and other end-user industries.
The power segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.15% during the forecast period. One of the key market categories examined is the power-generating sector. In 2021, the power and utility sector overcame significant obstacles, achieved observable advancements, and obtained support for renewable energy from a new administration. Despite economic development in the past 15 years, power demand has nearly stagnated in established economies. Overall, 93% of the global net growth in the need for power came in emerging and developing economies, with 58% of that growth occurring in China alone. The proprietors of the power plants place a significant priority on water management. It can be particularly problematic for several reasons, including tighter environmental regulations on wastewater disposal, regional water shortages, and public opinion toward power plants. ZLD implementation can assist in resolving these problems. By eliminating discharge at the end of the wastewater treatment cycle, the ZLD process enables the treated water to be recovered and utilized in various beneficial ways.
To address the growing demand for raw materials used in the plastics and apparel sectors, Nayara Energy stated that it anticipates 15-20 new integrated petrochemical plants to be operational in India during the next ten years. The Indian Union Minister asserted that by 2025, the country's chemicals and petrochemicals sector is anticipated to receive investments totaling INR 8 lakh crore as it continues to grow rapidly. India has a competitive advantage due to several factors, including the creation of industrial corridors, investments made in the National Infrastructure Pipeline, and competitive wage rates.
The chemical and petrochemical industries also favor Odisha and Andhra Pradesh as their locations. Chemicals such as anesthetics, disinfectants, chemicals from laboratory activities, absorbable organohalogen compounds (AOX), radioactive wastes, and infectious agents are among the wastewater contaminants in the pharmaceutical sector. The three primary on-site wastewater treatments are immediate treatment to remove heavy solids, secondary treatment to use native bacteria to remove dissolved and suspended biological matter, and tertiary treatment to further treat the wastewater to remove pathogens, phosphorus, and excessive nitrogen nutrients.
The global zero liquid discharge (ZLD) systems market is bifurcated into four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market
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Asia-Pacific is the most significant shareholder in the global zero liquid discharge (ZLD) systems market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.83% during the forecast period. China is a large producer of chemicals, making up a significant portion of the world's chemical output. The demand for zero liquid discharge systems from this industry is anticipated to rise over the forecast period due to the increasing demand for various chemicals on a global scale. According to the world steel association, China is the world's most significant steel producer. Also, India has one of the largest GDPs in the Asia-Pacific region and is one of the world's emerging economies. Nearly all end-user sectors have been expanding due to the country's growing population, rising living standards, and rising per capita income. ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India) announced in April 2022 that as part of its INR 8,500 crore downstream development plan to generate value-added products, which is anticipated to be commissioned in 2024, it would be installing modern steel processing facilities at Hazira, Gujarat. All these investments will likely generate demand for ZLD systems during the projection period.
The chemical industry is Japan's second-largest industrial sector after transportation machinery. Additionally, the most well-known industry in Japan is the automotive sector, which relies heavily on the chemical sector for its raw materials. Transportation machinery is a part of this sector. According to chemical sales, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Mitsui Chemicals Inc., Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd., Toray Industries Inc., and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. are among the top 30 chemical businesses in the world.
Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.29%, generating USD 1,626.86 million during the forecast period. With more than 2,900 chemical businesses, Germany has the most significant chemical sector. Over 70% of Europe's chemical exports come from Germany, a vital chemical producer in the area. Atlanta, BASF, Bayer, Henkel, Evonik, Covestro, Merck, Lanxess, Freudenberg, Wacker, and Bayer are the major players in the German chemicals sector. The global zero liquid discharge (ZLD) systems market is anticipated to expand over the forecast period due to rising demand from key end-user industries. According to the World Nuclear Association, France generates over 70% of its electricity from nuclear energy, thanks to a long-standing policy centered on energy security. Long-term market changes favoring renewable energy sources are predicted to have an impact. However, the market during the forecast is anticipated to be driven by nuclear power's expansion. Mineral resources like uranium, bauxite, and iron ore are abundant in France. In addition, it is Europe's second-largest coal producer. French Guiana's second-largest industry in terms of revenue is mining, which is primarily supported by artisanal miners and small- to medium-sized businesses there.
North America is anticipated to grow significantly during the forecast period. The chemical sector in the United States has been expanding due to expansion in vital end-user markets, which has increased chiefly demand for chemicals. The local chemical industry is becoming more profitable due to access to cheaper and more plentiful feedstock and energy sources. Since Thunder Horse South is one of the largest oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico, Phase 2 of the expansion project will help the market growth. Shortly, this project will add two new subsea production wells, and roughly eight wells will be drilled as part of the overall development.
Additionally, the country's mining industry has lately been found to invest in research and innovation, where it has been working to create an undiscovered mineral and its commercial application, which may offer opportunities for expansion of mining operations in the nation in the years to come. The country's steel output is anticipated to increase during the projected period as part of Canada's goal to achieve net zero. Also, one of the country's leading industries is mining and metallurgy. While environmental and social responsibilities have been a worry, the mining industry has invested in innovation and new technologies, which have fast transformed the sector. Consolidations in the mining sector have also raised questions about the industry's growth potential over the forecast period.
Brazil has 875 hydroelectric units, 615 wind farms, and 114 solar parks, signaling a trend toward renewable energy sources. The switch to renewable energy sources will likely impact the market demand during the projected period. The country's chemical industry has not yet recovered from the economic downturn and other market difficulties. Formerly the sixth-largest market in the world, the Brazilian chemical industry is now the eighth-largest. The Macri administration's pro-mining policies have led to the mining sector in Argentina seeing rapid expansion. The repeal of a 5% export tax on metals, the implementation of a value-added tax return program, and the relaxation of the prohibition on businesses moving earnings abroad are just a few of the key actions the government has taken to advance the growth of the mining industry in the nation.
The global zero liquid discharge (ZLD) systems market’s major key players are ALFA LAVAL, Aquarion Ag, Aquatech International LLC, Evoqua Water Technologies LLC, GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft, H2O GmbH, IDE Water Technologies, Mitsubishi Power Ltd, Praj Industries, SafBon Water Technology, Saltworks Technologies Inc., SUEZ, Thermax Limited, Toshiba, and Veolia Water Technologies Inc.