Zero liquid discharge (ZLD) is a wastewater treatment process, which is designed to remove liquid waste from the system. This is done to achieve zero discharge at the end of wastewater management cycle so that no liquid waste leaves the boundary of the facility. It is a progressive wastewater treatment process that is comprised of reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration, evaporation/crystallization, and fractional electro deionization. There are two types of zero liquid discharge systems namely conventional ZLD systems and hybrid ZLD systems. Conventional ZLD system includes falling film brine concentrators, vertical tube vertical tube evaporators (seed slurry concentrators) and non-seeded evaporators, forced circulation crystallizers, horizontal spray film evaporators, filter presses, centrifuges and drum dryers for sludge dewatering. Moreover, hybrid ZLD system involves integrated automated system with membrane pre-concentrators, followed by thermal/evaporation technologies.
The global zero liquid discharge market is estimated to account for US$ 699.0 Mn in terms of value and by the end of 2019
Market Dynamics- Drivers
- Inadequate availability of freshwater across the globe is expected to drive the global zero liquid discharge market during the forecast period
The availability of freshwater across the world has decreased significantly. Growing industrialization has led to increased generation of water waste thereby increasing water pollution worldwide. Furthermore, stringent regulatory polices enforced by government agencies in developed countries such as the U.S., Canada, and countries in Western Europe have accelerated the adoption of zero discharge systems. Agencies such as Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.), European Water Association (Europe), and India Water Works Association (India) coupled with government authorities are proactively forming regulatory policies, in order to curb water pollution, which in turn, is expected to drive the market growth in the near future. According to the United Nations (UN) Water Report, out of total water available on the Earth’s surface today, only 0.5% is freshwater, which can be used for consumption. According to the same source, around 60% of this freshwater is unevenly distributed with major share concentrated among ten countries of the world. This, in turn, could lead to water scarcity thereby driving growth of the global zero liquid discharge market in the near future.
- Growing application of desalination is expected to propel the global zero liquid discharge market over the forecast period
Since there has been shortage of freshwater for drinking, industrial, and household purposes, the desalination of seawater has been opted as common process. The desalination of seawater for obtaining usable water has been a crucial technique in ZLD technologies. Currently, ZLD desalination techniques are used primarily to treat power plant cooling water and industrial waste. Evaporation ponds and industrial water streams are some of commonly used ZLD desalination techniques. Thus, implementation of ZLD desalination in industrial sectors is expected to drive the market growth over the forecast period.
Europe region dominated the global zero liquid discharge market in 2019, accounting for 37.7% share in terms of value, followed by North America and Asia Pacific, respectively.
Source: Coherent Market Insights
Market Dynamics- Restraints
- High capital investment and operational costs are expected to restrain the global zero liquid discharge market growth over the forecast period
Generally, zero liquid discharge systems are based on thermal processes including energy-intensive evaporation processes, in order to recover reusable water from wastewater system. Such systems are custom built according to particular organization’s needs, which involves significant amount of investment and operating expenditure. Moreover, spatial constraints hinder the adoption of ZLD systems, especially in smaller industries from emerging economies. ZLD treated water could also cost three to seven times that of water extracted from the ground or obtained from municipal source, which in turn, is expected to hinder the market growth in the near future.
- Availability effective substitutes is expected to hamper growth of the global zero liquid discharge market during the forecast period
Alternative options such as minimal liquid discharge (MLD) recover around 95% of the liquid discharge from their effluent treatment plants at lower cost as compared to zero liquid discharge systems. Therefore, municipal corporations and similar organizations are increasingly adopting MLD technology as it is more economical than ZLD, which also helps them to meet regulatory policies. Therefore, these factors are expected hamper the market growth over the forecast period.
- Growing concerns of disposal brine concentrates into oceans is expected to offer lucrative growth opportunities for market players
Disposal brine water concentrates in ocean is a major concerns for governing bodies. It has been found that desalination plants produce more brine water than previously assumed. This, is in turn, is expected to offer lucrative opportunities for market players to develop novel techniques, in order to decrease disposal of brine solutions in oceans. It can be done with innovative techniques such as brine incineration, brine evaporation ponds, and more. For instance, in brine incineration, brine concentrates are mixed with other solid waste and are incinerated to evaporate water. The salts in it remain as residual ash, which is then further managed.
- Recovery of valuable minerals and compounds from waste streams is expected to offer significant growth opportunities for market players
Zero liquid discharge technique can be used for recovering profit-making compounds and minerals from the by-products of waste streams. For instance, ZLD has been found advantageous in recovering sodium chloride and sodium sulfate salts. Moreover, ZLD has been adopted in successfully recovering valuable and saleable minerals in the mining industry, which directly benefits business profits. This, in turn, is expected to pose excellent business opportunities for market players in the near future.
Source: Coherent Market Insights
In Global zero liquid discharge market, by application segment, power generation sub segment dominated the global automotive carbon ceramics market in 2019, accounting for 32.2% share in terms of value, followed by oil & gas, respectively.
Source: Coherent Market Insights
- Strategic moves such as mergers and acquisitions among key players
Key players in the market are focused on mergers and acquisitions activities, in order to enhance their market presence and gain competitive edge around the world. For instance, in November 2016, the U.S. Water Services, Inc. acquired Water & Energy Systems Technology, Inc. (WEST) in order to enhance its national footprint. Moreover, in March 2017, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and SUEZ acquired General Electric (GE)’s GE Water & Process Technologies business for US$ 3.4 billion.
- Development of cost-efficient technology in ZLD is another major trend in the market
Novel technologies such as forward osmosis (FO) membranes and electro-separation systems in ZLD systems have been introduced to treat brine concentrates with high salinity. The low operating pressure and high cross flow velocity involved in forward osmosis membrane technology provides higher capabilities to perform dissolved solids separation on high fouling streams. By replacing a Membrane Brine Concentrator (MBC) for thermal evaporation, the key intermediary step of the ZLD process could be performed with a membrane technology that provides lower energy consumption, reduced capital cost, improved reliability, and achievement of higher water recovery, thereby allowing the final ZLD step of crystallization to operate at lower flow and lower energy. For instance, in 2015, GE introduced new evaporation/solidification technology for fuel gas desulfurization (FGD) for steam electric and coal-fired power plants.
- In 2015, the U.S. EPA announced the final coal combustion rules (CCRs) and revised effluent limitation guidelines (ELGs). So far, the main challenge to coal-fired power plants has been the need to meet new discharge requirements for Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) purge streams. Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) technologies were made mandatory in order to ensure reuse of wastewater from plant discharge and a five-year extension for compliance was provided.
Value Chain Analysis
Key companies operating in the global zero liquid discharge market 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.
- Key companies in the market are focused on mergers and acquisitions, in order to gain competitive edge in the market. For instance, in March 2017, Thermax Global acquired Barite Investments Sp. Z.O.O., to gain strategic advantage in Eastern Europe.
- Key players in the market are involved in signing contract, in order to enhance the market presence. For instance, in September 2019, SUEZ entered into contract Goseong Green Power Plant to implement Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) technology.