Water and wastewater plants typically are some of the largest consumers of energy, accounting for 30-40 percent of the energy used in a municipal government, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Looking at the situation in Europe, Frost & Sullivan has found that environmental regulations and increased focus on optimizing energy consumption in the water and wastewater industry is boosting the adoption of smart pumps across Europe.
Minimizing pump lifecycle costs is another factor in new adoptions. Although smart pumps have a higher initial cost than standard pumps, they reduce total cost of ownership by lowering maintenance and operation costs. Greater process automation along with the increase in efficiency and quality are expected to be important pump selection factors in the European water and wastewater industry.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan shows that the market earned revenues of $192.4 million in 2013 and should reach an estimated $267.9 million in 2018. The research covers positive displacement and centrifugal smart pumps.
“Tight environmental regulations designed to reduce greenhouse gas and carbon emissions lend significant support to the smart pumps market,” said Niranjan Paul, industrial automation and process control research analyst for Frost & Sullivan. “This includes the Euro 2020 directive, which targets a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the levels experienced in 1990, and the Ecodesign directive that sets rigorous ecological requirements for energy-related products sold across Europe.”
However, maintenance personnel in water and wastewater treatment facilities, particularly in the municipal sector, are reluctant to install smart pumps, concerned that they would add to the complexity of installation, operation and maintenance, thus increasing the risk of stoppages in water supply. Even end users, who are aware of the benefits provided by smart pumps in terms of energy efficiency and lifecycle costs, demand stringent tests for quality and reliability before installation, the study found.
“Moving into the water quality monitoring equipment will help pump manufacturers expand their customer base and combat the intense pressure on profit margins realized by manufacturing and selling only commodities such as pumps and valves,” Paul said. “The smart water grid market will gradually become more populated as the focus on integrating pumps with various control systems, such as supervisory control and data acquisition, increases.”