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Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market was valued at US$ 860.0 Mn in 2022, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% from 2023 to 2030.

Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) is a water treatment process in which all wastewater is purified and recycled. Thus, leaving zero discharge at the end of the treatment cycle. ZLD treatment is majorly done through thermal or membrane processes. These processes require the utilization of decanters, separators, concentrators, evaporators, and crystallizers.

Zero liquid discharge are being used, particularly in the mining and industrial sectors, to recover valuable minerals and by-products from waste streams. Regulations regarding wastewater discharge limits in various nations around the world have set and implemented strict policies and guidelines for industrial plants and municipal bodies to meet zero liquid discharge norms, in order to stop the deterioration of water quality in their countries. This is due to growing awareness regarding need to protect the environment from the discharge of harmful wastewater effluents.

ZLD mandates set by the European Union Water Framework Directive in the European Union, and the Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs) set by the Environment Protection Agency in the U.S are few of the regulations provided by regulatory bodies. Freshwater has recently been in low supply for domestic, industrial, and drinking needs. Zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technologies is used in the desalination of seawater to produce useable water. ZLD desalination techniques are now used to treat industrial waste streams and cooling water from power plants.

Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market- Regional Analysis

Global zero liquid discharge market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa.

North America is expected to hold dominant position due to largest zero liquid discharge market share during the forecast period. The market's regional expansion is driven by the U.S., a major country in the region with extremely stringent regulations regarding wastewater emissions. The U.S. EPA (Natural Security Office) made few alterations to its existing guidelines on wastewater guidelines. The new rules put forth government lines fair and square of harmful metals and different releases and making ZLD as the favored answer for toxins in fly debris transport water, debris transport water, and wastewater from pipe gas mercury. ZLD installations in American power plants will also receive regulatory incentives from the government.

Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing regional market due to increasing awareness regarding ZLD systems, growing environmental concerns, and government regulations pertaining to wastewater treatment. China and India are countries that are making noticeable investments in the wastewater treatment plants. Europe have significant growth opportunities, with Germany, U.K., and Italy being the leading nations investing in wastewater treatment. The Middle East & Africa and Latin America will also witness healthy growth in the market with increasing urbanization and power demands in the region.

Figure 1. Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market Share (%), By Region, 2022


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Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market- Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Global zero liquid discharge (ZLD) market has experienced significant impact due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The outbreak of the virus and subsequent lockdown measures implemented by governments worldwide have disrupted various industries including global ZLD market.

The pandemic led to  temporary shutdown of numerous industrial operations such as power plants, chemical manufacturing facilities, and refineries, which are major end users of ZLD systems. These closures have resulted in decline in the demand for ZLD technologies and services. Supply chain disruptions, travel restrictions, and workforce shortages have further hampered the implementation of ZLD projects and delayed ongoing installations. Moreover, the economic downturn caused by the pandemic has led to budget cuts and financial constraints for many companies, and making them hesitant to invest in new projects including ZLD installations. The uncertainty surrounding the duration and severity of the pandemic has also created a cautious approach among businesses, leading to postponements and cancellations of ZLD projects.

However, despite the negative impact, the pandemic has also highlighted the importance of sustainable water management and environmental conservation. As industries resume operations and adapt to the new normal, there is an increased focus on implementing resilient and efficient water treatment solutions such as ZLD to minimize water consumption and protect water resources. Furthermore, the pandemic has brought attention to the potential health risks associated with inadequate wastewater treatment. This awareness has prompted regulatory bodies and governments to strengthen their environmental regulations and push for stricter compliance, that is expected to increase adoption of ZLD technologies.

Growing emphasis on water scarcity, stringent regulations, and the need for sustainable practices are expected to boost demand for ZLD solutions in the post-pandemic era. However, the pace of market recovery may vary across regions depending on the severity of the outbreak, vaccination rates, and government policies.

Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market– Drivers

Energy Recovery and Cost Savings

ZLD systems incorporate energy recovery mechanisms such as heat exchangers and evaporators, and thus, enables the reuse of thermal energy and reduces operational costs. The potential for cost savings in terms of water procurement, disposal, and treatment is also expected to drive the market growth.

For Instance, in 2020, AquaTech International LLC, a leading water and wastewater treatment solutions provider company, implemented a ZLD solution at a major refinery in India. The project aims to achieve energy recovery and cost savings by treating and reusing the refinery's wastewater. The ZLD system incorporated advanced technologies such as thermal evaporation and crystallization to achieve 99% water recovery, and reducing freshwater consumption and wastewater discharge.

Zero Liquid Discharge Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2022 Market Size in 2023: US$ 928.6 Mn
Historical Data for: 2017 to 2021 Forecast Period: 2023 to 2030
Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR: 7.5% 2030 Value Projection: US$ 1,541.2 Mn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa: GCC Countries, South Africa, and Rest of Middle East & Africa
Segments covered:
  • By Application: Power Generation, Oil and Gas, Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Mining & Metallurgy, Pharmaceuticals, and Others
  • By System Type: Conventional and Hybrid 
Companies covered:

Aquatech International LLC, Alfa Laval Corporate AB, GEA Group, U.S. Water Services Inc., Veolia Water Technologies, Oasys Water, Inc., GE Water & Process Technologies, Thermax Global, Suez Environnement, 3v Green Eagle S.p.A., ENCON Evaporators, Aquarion AG, Doosan Hydro Technology, and IDE Technologies

Growth Drivers:
  • Energy Recovery and Cost Savings
Restraints & Challenges:
  • High Initial Investment
  • Alternative Water Management Options
  • Limited Water Availability for Reuse

Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market– Opportunities

Increasing Stringency of Environmental Regulations

Stringent environmental regulations and water discharge standards by governments worldwide is expected to create opportunities for the ZLD market. Industries such as power generation, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and textiles are under pressure to adopt sustainable wastewater management practices. ZLD systems provides an effective solution for these industries to meet regulatory requirements, and to achieve zero liquid discharge.

Innovations in ZLD Technologies   

Ongoing research and development in ZLD technologies are driving innovation in the market. Advancements in membrane filtration, evaporation, crystallization, and other ZLD technologies is improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of ZLD systems. Companies that invest in research and development and introduce innovative ZLD technologies have the opportunity to capture a significant market share.

Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market– Trends

Rising investment in innovative ZLD technologies

For the treatment of high salinity brines, new technologies including Forward Osmosis (FO) membranes and electro-separation systems in the field of ZLD are introduced. The forward osmosis membrane technology's low operating pressure and fast cross flow velocity provide it  ability to accomplish dissolved solids separation on high fouling streams.

The crucial intermediate step of the ZLD process could be performed by using membrane technology instead of a membrane brine concentrator (MBC), which offers lower energy consumption, reduced capital cost, improved reliability, and the ability to achieve higher water recovery. This would allow the final ZLD step of crystallization to operate at a lower flow and lower energy.

Focus on Resource Recovery

The concept of resource recovery from wastewater is a major trend in the global ZLD market. ZLD systems are being designed to recover valuable resources such as salts, minerals, metals, and energy from the wastewater treatment process. This trend aligns with the circular economy principles and provides economic and environmental benefits to industries.

Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market– Restraints

High Initial Investment

Implementing a ZLD system requires significant capital investment due to complexity of the technology and the need for specialized equipment and infrastructure. The high upfront costs associated with ZLD systems can be a significant barrier, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or industries operating on tight budgets.

Alternative Water Management Options

Industries have alternative options for managing wastewater such as off-site disposal, water treatment through conventional methods, or partial reuse. These alternatives can be perceived as more cost-effective or easier to implement compared to ZLD, and thus, reducing the immediate demand for ZLD systems.

Limited Water Availability for Reuse

The effectiveness of ZLD systems relies on the availability and quality of the wastewater or feedwater that can be treated and reused. In some cases, industries may not have access to sufficient volumes of wastewater or face limitations in the quality of wastewater available for treatment thatcan limit the feasibility of ZLD implementation.

Figure 2. Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market Share (%), By System Type, 2022  


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Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market- Segmentation

Global zero liquid discharge market report is segmented into application, system type, and region.

Based on application, the market is segmented into power generation, oil & gas, chemicals & petrochemicals, mining & metallurgy, pharmaceuticals, and others.

Based on system type, the market is segmented into conventional and hybrid.

Based on region, the market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa.

Based on system type, hybrid segment dominated the market, as hybrid ZLD systems are more cost-effective since these utilize less energy, even if it need a higher initial capital investment than traditional ZLD systems. Because of their low operational costs, these systems are widely accepted.

Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market: Key Developments

In May 2022, Evonik Catalysts, a leading manufacturer of catalysts & specialty adsorbents, expanded its business in Maharashtra, India, by opening its first zero liquid discharge plant to treat wastewater from industrial processes.

In February 2022, Veolia Water Technologies, a France-based transnational company with activities in three main service and utility areas traditionally managed by public authorities-water management, waste management, and energy services, announced the completion of the sale of the New Suez to the consortium of investors composed of Meridiam, GIP, CDC Group, and CNP assurances for an unchanged enterprise value.

In December 2021, the European Commission approved the acquisition of Suez by Veolia. This was a decisive step in the creation of a global champion of ecological transformation.

Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market: Key Companies Insights           

Key players operating in the global zero liquid discharge market are Aquatech International LLC, Alfa Laval Corporate AB, GEA Group, U.S. Water Services Inc., Veolia Water Technologies, Oasys Water, Inc., GE Water & Process Technologies, Thermax Global, Suez Environment, 3v Green Eagle S.p.A., ENCON Evaporators, Aquarion AG, Doosan Hydro Technology, and IDE Technologies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Key players operating in the Global Zero Liquid Discharge Market are Aquatech International LLC, Alfa Laval Corporate AB, GEA Group, U.S. Water Services Inc., Veolia Water Technologies, Oasys Water, Inc., GE Water & Process Technologies, Thermax Global, Suez Environnement, 3v Green Eagle S.p.A., ENCON Evaporators, Aquarion AG, Doosan Hydro Technology, and IDE Technologies.

Inadequate availability of freshwater across the globe, coupled with growing application of desalination is expected to drive the market growth.

The market is estimated at US$ 928.6 Mn in 2023 and is estimated to reach US$ 1,541.2 Mn by 2030 during the forecast period (2023-2030).

The market is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 7.5% over the forecast period.

Among regions, North America is estimated to account for the largest market share in the market during the forecast period.

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