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Gas and liquids monitoring market to grow significantly through 2020

The market for air, gas, and liquid monitoring equipment is projected to grow robustly, reaching a total worth of $78 billion (€72.7bn) by 2020, a recent market study states.

According to the Air and Water Monitoring: World Market report by the McIlvaine Co., machine-to-machine communication will spur significant growth for sensors and other electronics used to measure air, water, gases, and liquids in the fossil, nuclear, and renewable power sectors.

Asia and Africa are building large numbers of new coal-fuelled power plants, while the recent change in US administration is expected to loosen regulations on American plants.

No longer faced with the threat of closure, US plants are now reviewing how to make their plants more efficient for long-term operation and the answer for them is better control of gases, liquids, and solids.

To improve combustion, sophisticated devices such as tunable diode lasers allow monitoring of oxygen and CO2 at numerous points within the boiler.

The software used in monitors is able to learn empirically and automatically optimise operations while providing information for remote controllers or suppliers.

For ultrapure water used in nuclear, gas turbine, coal, geothermal, and biomass operations, a number of process steps can be optimised and the use of chemicals reduced through more efficient monitoring.

Distribution of flow is critical for the steam cycle balance, which involves high temperature liquid and vapours that extract heat from corrosive combustion gases, and this can be improved and optimized through monitoring.

Air pollution control and wastewater treatment costs are rising along with the stringency of regulations, and one utility owner is planning on saving $200 million just by a combination of optimisation steps to reduce nitrous oxides. 

Zero liquid discharge (ZLD) wastewater systems are now mandated in many areas, and sophisticated monitoring is required in the dewatering and evaporation steps.

Ambient air and water monitoring is increasingly needed as plants need to validate pollution sources.

One utility was accused of being the cause of high selenium levels in a river and had to demonstrate that the selenium contamination was occurring upstream, the McIlvaine report reads.

Smart valves, pumps, and other components relay information that can be used to reduce maintenance and ensure reliable operation.

Instead of periodic costly inspections, components are repaired when problems are discovered.

Lubrication systems are critical to reliable operation of wind, gas and steam turbines, as well as fans, pulverisers, compressors and other rotating components in power plants, and as such monitoring pressure, flow, and leakage is important.

Some of the biggest beneficiaries will be automation system providers such as GE, Emerson, Siemens, ABB, Yokogawa, and others.

This article was written by Ilari Kauppila, editor at Fluid Handling International