US$3.8 billion ultrapure water market in 2011

Some US$1.3 billion is allocated to sales of new semiconductor equipment as well as the ultrapure water systems which accompany them, with 17 new major wafer fabrication facilities slated for initial operation. The water used for this purpose has to be subjected to the most efficient filtration and chemical treatment processes. This segment also includes cartridge and reverse osmosis filters, degasification, ion exchange systems, pumps and other equipment. It also includes the piping and construction of the systems in the fabrication plants. Coal-fired power plants are the second biggest market in 2011, with a number of new plants in Asia and upgrades and consumable expenditures elsewhere in the world creating US$1 billion in revenues. Many new Asian plants utilize the high temperatures and pressures associated with super critical operation. The purity of the water used in the steam cycle is even higher than with the older subcritical plants. Gas turbines and nuclear power represent smaller markets, because peaking gas turbine plants do not use any steam or ultrapure water. Combined cycle power plants need less than half the ultrapure water of coal-fired power plants of comparable size and nuclear power plants are presently mostly a repair and replacement market.  

Pharmaceuticals are the fourth largest segment. High purity water is required for fluids injected into the human body. This market is still dominated by the US and then Europe, in contrast to the power and semiconductors segments where the majority of the market is in Asia.  

Ultrapure water system markets 2011 (US$ millions)
Semiconductor US$1,323.0
Coal fired power


Flat panel US$529.0
Pharmaceutical US$398.0
Industrial power


Other industries


Gas turbine


Worldwide totals US$3,835.2