06 April 2010 20:52 [Source: ICIS news]
By Joseph Chang
NEW YORK (ICIS news)--The growing need for clean, potable water via desalination is driving the market for water-treatment chemicals, the president of US-based BWA Water Additives said on Tuesday.
“We see consistent growing demand for potable water worldwide. We expect the continuing construction of water desalination plants to re-establish the pre-recession 15% growth rates to this market segment,” President Paul Turgeon said in an interview with ICIS.
The desalination water-treatment business accounted for around 40% of BWA’s sales of about $130m (€96.2m) in 2009, with the industrial side accounting for 60%, he said.
In membrane desalination, seawater is pushed through membranes to remove salt and impurities.
BWA markets maleic and acrylic acid-based anti-scalants used in reverse-osmosis membrane desalination. Anti-scalants prevent the formation of solid deposits known as scale, which can inhibit operations.
The acrylic acid market is currently tight, according to Turgeon.
“Cost movement is occurring but we’re working hard to prevent costs from rocketing,” he said.
The US acrylic acid market has been mired in supply constraints and rising costs. March contract prices for US glacial acrylic acid rose to $0.99-1.04/lb ($2,183-2,293/tonne), according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
BWA is comfortable with its diversified supply base of acrylic acid, he said. The company toll manufactures its water treatment products.
On the industrial water-treatment side, “market conditions are pretty flat as the industry has dealt with industrial plant closures in the US and Europe. But we have performed better than most because of the success of our new products,” Turgeon said.
He estimated single-digit sales growth in 2010 for the industrial water-treatment side for BWA, driven by new products and improving market conditions.
BWA markets maleic anhydride-based anti-scalants for industrial water-treatment applications.
Industrial customers are water-service companies, which sell to end-market customers such as chemical, pharmaceutical and pulp and paper plants, as well as large institutional plants.
The industrial water-treatment business is being driven by the increasing trend towards using less water and energy, Turgeon said.
“Water reuse leads to challenging water conditions that can only be addressed by high performance specialty additives,” he said.
($1 = €0.74)
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