Sludge treatment equipment prospects brighten as Europe encounters higher sludge volumes, study says

A new study by Frost & Sullivan reveals that the European market for sludge treatment equipment displays a noteworthy performance of sustained growth, despite approaching maturity.

March 19, 2001—A new study by Frost & Sullivan, the international marketing consulting company, reveals that the European market for sludge treatment equipment displays a noteworthy performance of sustained growth, despite approaching maturity.

Frost & Sullivan is bullish on the outlook for the sludge treatment equipment industry. "The ongoing development of regional wastewater treatment facilities across Europe in compliance with the EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC) and the implementation of increasingly rigorous national regulations for safe sludge management will offset the downward spiral of decline in investment," the study notes.

The rising volumes of sludge generation and the increasing stringency of legislative forces will provide impetus for continued growth, with sales of sludge treatment equipment rising from $1.36 billion in 2000 to $2.05 billion by the end of the forecast period in 2007.

The sludge treatment equipment market will draw strength from stricter legislation governing the use of sewage sludge in agriculture. Interest in the technology will expand as sludge producers require more sophisticated technologies to reduce the growing volumes. Resilient demand for on-site treatment facilities provides the overall market with a further boost.

Saana Karki, Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, reports: "The buoyancy of the replacement market, particularly in the maturing regions boasting an extensive installed equipment base, is lifting demand for upgrades of old facilities with technology-savvy systems. The total market will be offered a new lease of life through the refurbishment and upgrading of facilities or the actual construction of new plants to increase sewerage connection rates."

Frost & Sullivan believes that the controversy surrounding the majority of sludge disposal routes and the strict specifications for improved treatment and disposal are forcing sludge producers to actively seek alternative solutions. Both the construction and the maintenance of such facilities represent prime drivers behind growth in this market.

Saana Karki believes that the anticipated high levels of disposal costs and restriction of organic content in landfill are most likely to prompt developments in the treatment market for alternative disposal options. "Such attempts will have a particularly positive impact on the sludge dewatering and drying markets, which allow greater process efficiencies and balance out disposal costs by increasing the dry solid content of sludge matter. In some countries, landfill regulations have literally abolished the possibilities of routing sludge to land, hence demanding a greater need for advanced sludge treatment," she continues.

Frost & Sullivan's study confirms the prominence of the dewatering equipment and the thickening equipment market, jointly accounting for just below 68 per cent of total sales. Municipalities are responsible for 76 per cent of total revenues while the food & beverage and pulp & paper sectors dominate the industrial applications in the sludge treatment equipment market.

The leading companies have traditionally been large contracting companies, with Degr�nt, Vivendi Environment?s U.S.Filter and Vivendi Water's OTV snapping up the lion's share of the market. These companies are generally integrated into large business corporations and are in pole position to provide complete turnkey solutions by providing a full range of treatment technologies.

Similarly, the Passavant group has maintained a strong presence in the total European market with its recent merger activities reflecting the growing trend of consolidation in this market. However, the market also consists of numerous strong manufacturers and participants who operate successfully at a segment level, such as Andritz, Guinard Centrifugation and Alfa Laval.

The study concludes: "As the significance of refurbishing works and industrial applications accelerates across Europe, a shift in demand from mere low price considerations in favour of customised service as well as technologically-advanced upgrades is likely to accentuate the role of specialised suppliers."

Frost & Sullivan is an international marketing consulting company that monitors a comprehensive spectrum of energy and environment markets for industry trends, market measurements and strategies. This ongoing research is utilised to complement a series of research publications analysing the water industry, such as the Strategic Review of the UK Water Industry, to support industry participants with customised consulting needs. Report Code: 3894, Publication Date: April 2001, Price: 5,000 Euros

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