NEWS RELEASE February 2020
Air Pollution Monitoring Market is Growing but not Consolidating
The markets for measuring air pollutants in the ambient air and from pollution sources continue to grow as developing nations address their considerable problems. In atypical fashion there has not been the typical consolidation. The market with the broadest definition is over $15 billion per year. The largest supplier is generating sales of less than $300 million in the space.
There was consolidation in the early days. RAC, a small supplier of intermittent particulate sampling systems had a major market share since there were no others and no continuous monitoring. RAC merged with Thermo Electron and started buying a number of growing companies in gas and particulate monitoring. Today Thermo Fisher is the # 1 supplier in several categories. They are worldwide with their research all centered in China. But even in the categories where they are # 1 their world market share is less than 10% and their overall share is less than 1%.
The market segments include
- Continuous emissions monitoring systems
- Ambient government funded monitoring systems
- Industry funded fence line and ambient monitoring systems
- Mobile measurement of pollutants
- CEMS validation and intermittent stack testing
- Laboratory support for ambient and stack sampling
- Process monitoring and control using CEMS type analyzers in the process as well as the stack
Opportunities abound for small and large companies to generate high ROI. For the large companies there is the opportunity to optimize power plant, refinery, cement and other processes with complete cloud based process management systems. Yokogawa is one company who has demonstrated the potential for success in competition with generalists such as Emerson, ABB, and Rockwell. In Europe the U.S. and now China the profitable operation of a plant depends on optimizing the stack emissions and balancing lower production costs with emission compliance.
For the small companies there are big rewards for supplying instrumentation to meet specific new regulations or to better address existing regulations. Micro sensors are being developed to measure a variety of pollutants in the ambient air. Their cost is as low as 5% of a sequential sampling system and does not require continuing service. The potential is to expand ambient monitoring to quantify air quality in more local areas at affordable cost. The accuracy of micro sensors is the key to success.
Smaller companies are developing analyzers which will lead to better regulations. One company has developed a continuous multi metal analyzer. Due to the lack of such a device most regulations lump toxic metals into one category and regulate by total weight. But since cadmium is thousands of times more toxic than manganese, it is highly desirable to measure each and then use a metric which measures all harm and good to determine the acceptability of the emission. This common metric is also needed for process purposes when you can reduce NOx but increase CO. Is one ton of CO as harmful or more harmful than one ton of NOx?
One bastion for small entrepreneurs has been the supply of stack sampling services. Travel time costs are a significant factor in regularly extracting stack samples. Montrose Environmental has changed this industry segment with the purchase of many local companies. It has also upgraded the capability to measure difficult pollutants. It has 1300 employees in 60 offices in the U.S., Canada, and Australia and has just received DOE accreditation to analyze per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).