Concern about invasive species in lakes and seas will create a $70 billion market for ballast water treatment systems for vessels traveling in international waters, according to a report by the McIlvaine Company. A critical component of each treatment system is a filter. This new opportunity will add 10 percent to the revenues of the suppliers of liquid macrofiltration equipment and will double the size of the automatic backwash filter portion, according to the latest Liquid Filtration and Media: World Markets report.

Liquid Macrofiltration Revenues ($ Millions)

Subject 2012
ABW Filter 670
Bag Filter 786
Belt Filter Press 647
Drum & Disk 713
Filter Press 1,000
Granular Media Filter 1,643
Leaf, Tubular & Belt 831
Total 6,290

The report finds the largest portion of the market is served by granular media filters often known as sand filters. However, McIlvaine says these devices are relatively large and, therefore, unattractive for placement in the confined spaces of a vessel. McIlvaine explains that filter presses, belt filters, and belt filter presses are primarily used to dewater slurries while bag filters are disposable and not suited for the demands of ballast water filtration. The one category that does fit all the needs is the automatic backwash filter, McIlvaine says.

Automatic backwash filters use screens, sintered metal, or nested discs to capture particles ranging from 10 to 100 microns in diameter. The initial IMO standards will specify a need to capture the 50-micron particles. This type of filter will meet the efficiency requirements (Individual countries may later dictate more stringent standards.). McIlvaine says the automatic backwash filter is compact and is, therefore, appealing to vessel owners who have limited available space.

McIlvaine cites other trends that will cause the total macrofiltration market to grow faster than GDP as the construction of large numbers of sewage treatment plants in Asia, which will result in a high growth rate in the belt filter press segment, and granular media filters, which will benefit from a rise in swimming pool construction and in municipal drinking water plants in the developing world.

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