Understanding Impact of COVID-19 on Zero Liquid Discharge Market

Zero Liquid Discharge Market – Snapshot

Zero liquid discharge (or ZLD) is a type of wastewater treatment technique, wherein almost all of the wastewater generated is recycled and purified. This eliminates discharge of any liquid at the end of the process, resulting in zero discharge of water. The zero liquid discharge wastewater treatment comprises several processes such as reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration, fractional electrode ionization, and evaporation & crystallization. A well-designed, efficient, and effective zero liquid discharge wastewater treatment system should be capable of handling any fluctuations in waste contamination and flow rate and capable to recover around 95% to 99% of water for reuse. It should also be able to treat and recover valuable byproducts from waste streams and should produce a solid and dry cake for disposal. The selection of components of a ZLD treatment plant depends on several factors. However, three factors largely determine the criteria for selection of these components: the flow rate to be handled by the system, the composition of wastewater stream, and the volume of contaminants present in the stream.

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Increasing demand for fresh water and scarcity of freshwater sources likely to drive the market

Fresh water accounts for only 3% of the total water present on the planet. Rising demand from different sectors is putting freshwater sources under great pressure. Rapid urbanization and industrialization is putting great stress on these sources, which are limited. Moreover, growing water pollution is another major reason for declining of freshwater sources across the globe. Thus, recycling and reuse of wastewater would be able to relive some of the stress on freshwater sources in the next few years. Since the water recovered from ZLD can be reused for industrial applications, the overall demand for fresh water from the industrial sector would reduce significantly, thereby making more fresh water available for drinking and other purposes. Thus, scarcity of freshwater sources is likely to drive the market for zero liquid discharge in the near future. Moreover, stringent rules and regulations related to the environment regarding wastewater and effluent discharge from the industrial sector are also likely to fuel the market for zero liquid discharge during the forecast period. With increasing pollution and depleting water sources, the government and regulatory authorities across the world are imposing stringent regulations on the disposal of industrial and municipal wastewater. In certain countries, authorities have mandated the use of ZLD in certain industrial sectors generating wastewater in large amounts.

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Increasing power demand across the globe is leading to rise in the power generation capacity as well as generation of wastewater from thermal power plants. These power plants are required to treat wastewater before disposal. However, with ZLD, they can easily recycle the water and use it for boilers or other applications. Therefore, rising power generation capacity is also expected to drive the zero liquid discharge market in the near future.

High CAPEX and OPEX likely to restrain the market

Zero liquid discharge plants usually have higher capital costs associated with them compared to other wastewater treatment processes. A major portion of the capital expenditure (CAPEX) is the cost of equipment that need to be installed in the plant. Moreover, conventional zero liquid discharge systems are thermal-based systems comprising the high-energy-intensive evaporation process intended to recover reusable water from the wastewater stream. This high-energy-intensive process significantly increases the operational cost of a zero liquid discharge plant. Therefore, high CAPEX and operating expenditure (OPEX) are expected to be a major restraint of the market during the forecast period.

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Increasing efforts to minimize energy requirement to offer lucrative opportunities to the zero liquid discharge market

Efforts are increasingly being made to decrease the overall demand for energy in the zero liquid discharge process in order to significantly reduce the OPEX of the process. The energy cost accounts for a significant share of the operating costs of a ZLD plant. Technological advancements are being made in order to provide more energy-efficient technologies for zero liquid discharge. Industries are utilizing innovative solutions, such as waste heat evaporation and high pressure RO, for reducing their overall energy costs. Therefore, energy-efficient technologies are likely to offer lucrative opportunities to the zero liquid discharge market during the forecast period. 

Asia Pacific held a major i.e. around 40% share of the global market in 2017

Based on region, the global zero liquid discharge market has been segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific dominated the global market in 2017. This can be primarily ascribed to high demand for zero liquid discharge plants in India and China. Moreover, the market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period, primarily due to rise in the industrialization along with scarcity of water sources in the region, especially in developing countries such as China and India. 


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