Eliminating Wastewater: Zero Liquid Discharge Market

industrial discharge

Startups Compete with Big Powerhouses to enter the Waste Water Market

New startups and dominant incumbents GE and Veolia are enabling a growing market for eliminating waste from all power plants and other facilities that also produce waste, according to Lux Research. A method of waste water treatment, called Zero-Liquid Discharge, prevents any liquid waste from leaving the power plant. It is predicted to grow annually at 12% into a $2.7 billion market by the year 2030.  Rising concerns over surface water contamination is growing technological innovations,motivated by rising prices of water and regulations.  

Abhirabh Basu"Leading ZLD providers like GE, Veolia, and Aquatech International have a large chunk of the market, but startups with emerging technologies are addressing cost and energy issues to enable even wider adoptions," said Abhirabh Basu, Lux Research Associate and author of the report, "Assessing Oppurtunities in the Fast Gorwing Zero-Liquid Discharge Market." He also added that, "Advanced thermal system providers, innovative membrane distillation systems, and a group of emerging forward-osmosis startups promise to dramatically reduce the overall cost of running ZLD."

Water Treatment and Technology Companies on the Lux Innovation Grid

This picture shows the different waste water technology companies and where they stand according to Lux Research. They compared the different companies according to the Lux Innovation Grid and they rated them on their technical value, business execution, and maturity. They found that the companies Saltworks, Memsys, and Aquatech were the dominant firms. These companies offered advanced thermal solutions compared to the others.  The one problem with the company Saltworks is that it has run into trouble treating industrial waste waters with oil and gas majors and mining companies. 

High potential companies like Trevi Systems, Oasys Water and New Logic Research use a low-energy membrane systems. In particular, Trevi has developed a polymer-based draw solution that separates water from wastewater across a membrane and Oasys converts difficult-to-treat waste waters from coal gasification, and oil gas plants. The recent increase in Zero-Liquid-Discharge or ZLD comes from the most populated countries in the world China and India.  These two countries have mandated ZLD systems across industries such as new coal gasification plants, thermal power plants, refineries, textiles, distilleries, an pulp and paper.