NR1934

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                    APRIL 2014

Will the Precipitator Market Soar or Sink?

The market for electrostatic precipitators will continue to be large. The question is whether it will grow significantly in the next decade. Multiple forecasts based on different scenarios are displayed in Electrostatic Precipitator World Market published by the McIlvaine Company.

The portion of the market which is predictable involves the replacement and upgrades at coal-fired generating facilities around the world. More than half of the industry air from heavy industry including coal-fired generators, cement plants, iron and steel manufacturing, pulp and paper, mining and refining flows through electrostatic precipitators. Coal-fired generators exhaust more air than all the rest of the industries combined. Over 90 percent of the air discharged from coal-fired boilers flow through precipitators.

The big variable is whether coal-fired facilities around the world will continue to purify exhaust gas with precipitators or will be forced to use the potentially more efficient fabric filters. The combined purchases of new precipitators for coal-fired boilers will exceed $3 billion per year in India and China over the next several years. There is little likelihood that India would consider alternatives. However, China could decide to utilize fabric filters. The reason is tough new emission standards which have been promulgated recently. The incentive to move even beyond the standards has been increased with the recent smog episodes in Beijing and some other regions.

China has surprised the world by moving faster on NOx and SO2 control than had been thought possible. A major effort to upgrade particulate control equipment is certainly possible. On the other hand, the Chinese air pollution control companies are the largest manufacturers of electrostatic precipitators. A shift to fabric filters would mean an industry transformation and increased reliance on offshore technology.

One option is hybrid technology. Longking has licensed the U.S. government funded combination precipitator and fabric filter. Several commercial installations are operating. Another option is to improve the performance of precipitators. Cooling the gas to below 200°F prior to entering the precipitator will greatly improve performance. However, corrosion becomes a risk. The injection of sorbents ahead of the precipitator can minimize this risk. There are also continuing improvements in power supplies to charge the particles and collection plates to capture the particles.

Another variable is the fuel burned at Chinese plants. Much of the coal is of a poor quality and makes capture more difficult. The conclusion is that the size of the market over the next decade will be dependent on both regulatory and technical factors which are as yet not precisely predictable.

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