Zero Liquid Discharge Market

Market Study on Zero Liquid Discharge: Need for Safe and Chemical-free Water in Heavy Industries to Drive Demand

Zero Liquid Discharge Market Segmented By Conventional ZLD and Hybrid ZLD in Power Generation, Oil & Gas, Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Food, Textiles & Leather, Paper Application

Market Snapshot

Newly released analysis on the zero liquid discharge market by Persistence Market research reveals that global demand enjoyed year-on-year (YoY) growth of 7% in 2021 to be valued at US$ 744.6 Mn. Demand for conventional ZLD grew 7.1% to be valued at US$ 238.1 Mn, while that for hybrid ZLD was up 7% and reached US$ 584.3 Mn.

Overall, the global zero liquid discharge market is slated to surge at a CAGR of 8.2% over the next ten years.

Base Year Value (2020A)

US$ 695.8 Mn

Estimated Year Value (2021E)

US$ 744.6 Mn

Projected Year Value (2031F)

US$ 1.64 Bn

Value CAGR (2021-2031)


Collective Value Share: Top 3 Countries (2020A)


Find Out More about the Report Coverage


  • Veolia
  • SUEZ
  • Alfa Laval AB
  • Andritz Group
  • GEA Group
  • Ion Exchange (India) Ltd.
  • VA Tech Webag
  • Doosan Water
  • Aquatech International LLC
  • U.S. Water Services Inc.
  • Aquarion AG
  • IDE Water Tecchnologies Ltd.
  • Thermax Global
  • Multotec Group
  • ENCON Evaporators
  • Oasys Water, Inc.
  • SafBon Water Technology
  • 3V Green Eagle S.p.A
  • Condorchem Envitech
  • Cannon S.P.A.

Sales Analysis of Zero Liquid Discharge from 2016 to 2020 Vs Market Projections for 2021 to 2031

Revenues from the chemicals & petrochemicals segment under application grew 3% year-over-year in 2020, giving the combined zero liquid discharge market year-over-year growth of 10.1% in 2020, according to the Persistence Market Research report.

From 2016 to 2020, use of zero liquid discharge increased at around 4.5% CAGR, wherein, the U.S., Canada, and Germany contributed significant share in the global market.

On a global scale, healthy growth has been experienced in the past few years, which can be attributed to rising expenditure on R&D activities conducted by major players in the supply-side industry. After slowing down in 2018 and 2019, and in 2020 due to the COVOD-19 pandemic, it led to less cash flow, meaning, less overall value contribution to the market. Yet, the market is anticipated to show a slingshot effect after few quarters, mostly in 2022.

The water treatment industry and stringent regulations by governments across various nations drive the market for zero liquid discharge. Countries such as India, China, UAE, and even those from Latin America have started showing signs of recovery in the first quarter of 2021 itself.

New technologies such as forward osmosis (FO) membranes and electro-separation systems in the field of ZLD have been introduced for the treatment of brines with high salinity. The low operating pressure and high cross flow velocity involved in forward osmosis membrane technology provide higher capabilities to perform dissolved solids separation on high fouling streams.

By replacing a membrane brine concentrator (MBC) for thermal evaporation, the key intermediary step of the ZLD process can be performed with membrane technology that provides lower energy consumption, reduced capital cost, improved reliability, and achievement of higher water recovery, thereby allowing the final ZLD step of crystallization to operate at lower flow and lower energy

Specialized crystallization process for produced/flowback water from fracking and FGD blowdown and the modular bulldozer design evaporation/crystallization system for coal seam gas produced water and other challenging wastewater applications are recent developments in the field of ZLD.

Inefficiencies in the supply chain were revealed throughout the past six months, causing some merchants to recognize how ill-equipped they are to anticipate and respond to consumer demand and disruptions during unprecedented times.

Considering the stats and shift in dynamics, the market for zero liquid discharge is forecast to expand at a healthy CAGR of around 8.2% over the coming 10 years.

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What Key Opportunities Await Zero Liquid Discharge Manufacturers?

It is important to provide training and enhance expertise for the operation and maintenance of facilities for water and wastewater treatment. Otherwise, facilities at water work and wastewater treatment plants cannot work effectively.

Capacity building is needed to improve the knowledge of workers in this sector. Only qualified and efficient operators and managers can ensure the smooth operation of these treatment facilities. In addition, those who construct water and wastewater treatment facilities should establish necessary maintenance mechanisms so that these facilities can run sustainably.

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What Issues Do Zero Liquid Discharge Suppliers Encounter?

Commonly used zero liquid discharge systems are based on thermal processes involving energy-intensive evaporation process in order to recover reusable water from wastewater streams. Adoption of such ZLD systems, which are custom-built as per end-use requirements and processes, involves considerable costs in terms of both, capital expenditure and operating expenditure

Also, the efforts and costs associated with handling and management of solid waste generated at the end of the treatment further hinder wide-scale adoption of these units across industries. In addition, spatial constraint is another factor that drives the decision against installation of ZLD systems, especially among smaller industry players in developing regions.

The aforementioned factors tend to render use of such systems unviable for several industry players. Also, a noteworthy fact is that, cost of zero liquid discharge treated water could be around three to seven times (reportedly) that of water extracted from the ground or obtained from a municipal source, rendering the treated water uneconomical.

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Which Regional Market Offers Large Opportunity for Sales of Zero Liquid Discharge?

With an absolute dollar opportunity of around US$ 230 Mn, South Asia & Pacific is expected to be the most lucrative market for zero liquid discharge suppliers.

India is leading the South Asia & Pacific market, and is expected to witness a growth that would multiply 2X during 2021-2031. India, being one of the largest economies and one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, attains a pole position in the zero liquid discharge business in the region.

India also accounts for major exports to the Middle East where manufacturers are few and opportunities are ample in the water treatment sector.

Will is Application of Zero liquid discharge Growing in Desalination?

In recent times, there has been shortage of freshwater for industrial, drinking, and household purposes. Desalination of sea water for obtaining usable water has been finding application for the implementation of zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technologies.

Also, in application of zero liquid discharge for desalination, the concentrate is treated to produce product water with zero discharge of liquid waste from the process. Currently, ZLD desalination techniques are used primarily to treat industrial waste streams and power plant cooling water.

Established technologies for ZLD are thermal desalination and evaporation ponds. Hence, implementation of ZLD for desalination has been driving market growth.


Country-wise Analysis

Why is India a Lucrative Market for Zero Liquid Discharge?

The market in India grew 6.4% from 2016 to 2020. According to India Investment Grid, India can expect to attract US$ 100 billion cash worth of opportunity in water treatment and sewage collection, treatment, and disposal sector, if it manages to increase the FDI to GDP ratio of 3% to 4% by 2025. This can aid in bringing back India’s GDP growth rate to the 7%-8% range.

The above growth will be stimulated by recent structural reforms, raising of FDI limits in multiple sectors, and the Atmanirbhar Bharat strategy of the Government of India.

There are various projects lined up for India for the years ahead owing to support from government and their PLI schemes for application sectors such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals, mining, and power generation for treating wastewater produced from these industries.

Moreover, cities in the vicinity to the river Ganga, which carries socio-cultural as well as economic significance, are required to compulsorily implement zero liquid discharge systems at their plants, which will drive demand for ZLD in the near future.

Why are Zero Liquid Discharge Producers Eyeing GCC Countries?

In 2020, GCC countries accounted for over 45% share of the Middle East and Africa market. The GCC market is going through a general slowdown, yet, real estate development continues, and ongoing desalination plant construction is reaching an another all-time high owing to high requirement of drinking water in the region.

Moreover, rise in tourism has led to surging demand for clean drinking water. Currently, the region is responsible for the highest number of active desalination plant projects, which is the sole reason for high demand generation.

Category-wise Insights

Why is Hybrid ZLD the Most Procured System Type?

Hybrid Systems account for around 68% share in the global market. These offer the most versatile water treatment specifications in comparison to conventional ZLD systems.

Although hybrid zero liquid discharge systems are more expensive in terms of capital expenditure than conventional ZLD systems, they have shown to be significantly more cost-effective in the long run because they use less energy. As a result, these low-operational-cost systems have a high acceptance rate.

Which Application of Zero Liquid Discharge Generates Most Revenue?

In 2020, one in eight installations originated from power generation facilities that primarily utilize coal for electricity generation.

ZLD methods such as flue gas desulfurization (FGD) and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) are utilised to treat effluent discharges from cooling tower blowdowns in the power production industry. To grow their market share, zero liquid discharge system vendors must focus on end-to-end solutions that are adaptable to a variety of water sources.

COVID-19 Pandemic Impact

COVID-19 significantly lead to a plunge in procurement of these systems. Moreover, the pandemic brought many challenges that caused manufacturing to stop and supply chain constraints causing shipments to get delayed. This created an overall drop in the market by -0.5% in 2020.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on manufacturing industries, ranging from oil & gas to mining, as well as the capital goods industry. Global economic activity is slowing, with GDP growth in 2020 expected to be as low as -4.9%.

Because of its complicated supply chains, labor-intensive procedures, and interdependencies, the heavy industry, which is the end user, was hardest hit. The heavy industry is the most vulnerable due to division of labor, modular production processes, and outsourcing to lower costs and improve the efficiency, uniformity, and quality of each operation.

Competitive Landscape

Majority of corporations profiled in the research have focused on acquiring other market participants as a means of reducing competition and expanding their manufacturing operations in developing countries. Innovation, cooperation with important actors, partnerships, building alliances, and strengthening regional and worldwide distribution networks are all part of the strategy.

Some of the key developments are:

  • In September 2021, GEA announced its new generation valve, which provides enhanced operational safety, it will be deployable as a standard in more than 80% of all hygienic applications.
  • In November 2018, Veolia Water Technologies established a new plant, AQUAVISTA, which is a holistic digital solution composed of a suite of intelligent software solutions for real-time optimization of process performance.

Similarly, recent developments related to companies providing zero liquid discharge systems have been tracked by the team at Persistence Market Research, which are available in the full report.

Zero Liquid Discharge Industry Report Scope



Forecast Period


Historical Data Available for


Market Analysis

US$ Mn for Value

Key Regions Covered

  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • MEA
  • East Asia
  • South Asia & Pacific

Key Countries Covered

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Germany
  • U.K.
  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Nordics
  • South Africa
  • GCC Countries
  • Northern Africa
  • China
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • India
  • Oceania

Key Segments Covered

  • System Type
  • By Application
  • Region

Key Companies Profiled

  • Veolia
  • SUEZ
  • Alfa Laval AB
  • Andritz Group
  • GEA Group
  • Ion Exchange (India) Ltd.
  • Aquatech International LLC
  • U.S. Water Services Inc.
  • Aquarion AG
  • IDE Water Technologies Ltd.
  • Thermax Global
  • Multotec Group


Available upon Request

Key Segments Covered in Zero Liquid Discharge Industry Research

System Type

  • Conventional ZLD
  • Hybrid ZLD


  • Power Generation
  • Oil & Gas
  • Chemicals & Petrochemicals
  • Mining & Metallurgy
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Food
  • Textiles & Leather
  • Paper
  • Others

- FAQs -

The global zero liquid discharge market was valued at over US$ 695.8 Mn in 2020.

From 2016 to 2020, demand for zero liquid discharge increased at a CAGR of 5.1%.

Sales of zero liquid discharge are projected to surge at 8.2% CAGR and be valued at over US$ 1.64 Bn by 2031.

Strategic collaborations with regional distributors to expand business footprint, product customization, and establishment of robust aftersales service modules are key market trends.

Veolia, SUEZ, Alfa Laval AB, Andritz Group, and GEA Group hold around 50% market share.

The market for zero liquid discharge Europe is projected to progress at around 5.4% CAGR through 2031.

France, India, and Germany are key producers of zero liquid discharge systems.

France, India, China, and Germany are key exporting countries of zero liquid discharge systems.

Together, Japan and South Korea hold a market share of 8%.


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