NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                    AUGUST 2014

Major Shift in the World Air Pollution Control Market

The U.S., Europe and Japan are no longer dominating the world air pollution control market.  The extent of this transfer of power is analyzed in Air Pollution Management published by the McIlvaine Company.

Coal-fired power plants will continue to be the largest purchasers of air pollution control equipment. However, most of the purchases will be in Asia and Africa. The U.S. is effectively banning the construction of new coal-fired power plants. Europe is reducing output from coal-firing in favor of gas and renewables.

At one time a few companies controlled the power plant air pollution market.  In the 1950s, the big market was electrostatic precipitators. Western Precipitation and Research Cottrell shared the U.S. market. Lodge Cottrell and Lurgi controlled the European market.  Japanese licensees (Mitsubishi and Hitachi) controlled the Asia market.

Today the European and American pioneers are gone.  Furthermore, precipitators are not the dominant type of air pollution control equipment.  Fabric filters have replaced precipitators in most applications except coal-fired power plants. New regulations in China and the U.S. will lead to replacement of precipitators with the more efficient fabric filters at many coal-fired power plants.

SO2 removal technology was developed in the 1970s in the U.S. However, the U.S suppliers could not retain their initial advantage.  The next big market was Japan where Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Chiyoda became leaders. The market then moved to Europe where many local companies attempted to compete.  The result was disastrous for the suppliers. Many bankruptcies occurred.

China now operates more coal-fired power plants than the U.S. and Europe combined.  The largest precipitator manufacturers in the world are now located in China.  Originally the SO2 removal systems were licensed from offshore firms.  This reliance is changing as the licensees are accumulating more experience than the licensors.

The U.S. presently has one major asset.  Tough mercury regulations have resulted in development of control technology by U.S. firms.  They will be positioned to offer these technologies internationally.

In the future, competition from Chinese suppliers in growth regions such as Africa will be strong.  The potential success for non-Asian suppliers will be in components rather than systems.  Pentair dominates the supply of valves for dust collectors.  Non-Asian suppliers continue to supply the membranes, fabrics and fibers used in dust collection.

International suppliers are still in control of the NOx catalyst market but there are many new Chinese manufacturers. However, some are joint ventures with international companies. Air monitoring instrumentation is dominated by U.S. and German companies.

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