Fabric filters, which are commonly used to separate the small and harmful particles from stack exhausts, are expected to reach $7.5 billion in demand by 2012 due to new regulations in the U.S. and expansion of industry in China, according to a report by the McIlvaine Company (www.mcilvainecompany.com).

More specifically, growth is expected to be driven by tougher regulations in developed countries and expansion of the electrical generation, cement, steel and other major industries in developing countries. For example, McIlvaine cites a new ambient standard for fine particulate in the United States, which it expects will cause many operators of scrubbers and precipitators to switch to fabric filters. It is also anticipated to cause operators of existing fabric filters to switch bag materials to nonwoven microfibers and membranes.

Mercury reduction requirements are also expected to be a driver. Cement plants and coal-fired boilers in the U.S. will be fitted with secondary fabric filters and activated carbon injection systems for the purpose of mercury capture.

According to McIlvaine, coal-fired boilers represent the largest application for fabric filters in the immediate future. Since China and the U.S. will be the largest operators of coal-fired boilers in 2012, McIlvaine expects these two countries to represent the largest purchasers of fabric filter systems during this timeframe.

Fabric Filter Systems (Millions)

Country

2012

China

2,124

United States

1,517

South Africa

546

India

366

Japan

318

Brazil

215

Germany

214

South Korea

182

Russia

156

Turkey

114

Italy

99

France

96

Canada

93

Poland

85

Mexico

85

In the case of China, the second ranking is also attributable to the expansion of its steel, chemical and other heavy industries. It produces more than 50 percent of the world”s cement, according to McIlvaine.

South Africa owes its unusual ranking in 2012 to some specific coal-fired boiler projects and to its mining industry. The market for systems is volatile and country rankings change year by year. However, the $2.5 billion market for bags is more stable. South Africa will rank only 23 in terms of bag purchases in 2012, according to McIlvaine.