Analysts are predicting that orders for desalination equipment, which makes drinking water from the sea, will triple over the next five years and metamorphose into a $17 billion business thanks to technological breakthroughs and rising demands.
Industry consultant Global Water Intelligence predicts that investments in desalination equipment will jump from $5 billion in 2011 to $8.9 billion this year, and from then it will only be onwards and upwards globally.
New technology uses less energy to create drinking water from the sea. A new process called forward osmosis works at lower pressures using less heat and power. Experts estimate that this new technology could reduce the cost of desalination by around 30%.
In addition, demand is rising exponentially, with new companies entering the market and forcing costs down.
While the bulk of desalination plants are in the Middle East, according to Bloomberg, construction is expanding, particularly in China, which now has some 30 plants in operation and more under construction, while India has eight operational plants and more on the way.
Analysts have also predicted that the US south will also be a major desalination venue.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com