Antiscalants can be defined as pretreatments injected into feedwater before this water enters the Reverse Osmosis (RO) cleaning system. Antiscalants are multicomponent formulations designed to inhibit the formation and precipitation of crystallized mineral salts that form scales. Given the lack of scale formation during the RO purification process, antiscalants ensure longevity, higher recovery, reduction in cleaning frequency, and maximum production of clean water from the RO system. Antiscalants were first developed for boiler water and cooling water applications. An extensive range of antiscalant chemistries exists in the market. Their efficacy and results vary widely depending upon the application.
Requirement of clean water for various purposes, ranging from industrial to residential and research laboratories, is the primary driver of the antiscalant market. Antiscalants is becoming a popular method of cleaning and purifying water in various industries such as chemicals and oil & gas due to their ability of extend the life of RO systems. However, environmental concerns associated with the chemicals used in the formation of antiscalants is a major factor hampering the antiscalants market.
The global antiscalant market can be segmented based on type, form, product, method, end-user industry, and region.
In terms of type, the global antiscalant market can be classified into organic and inorganic, with the majority of them being company-developed proprietary, organic, man-made products. Historically, sodium hexametaphosphate, an inorganic antiscalant was commonly used. However, its usage has decreased due to the development of highly effective synthetic antiscalants. In terms of form, the global antiscalant market can be bifurcated into concentrated liquid and powder form.
In terms of product, the global antiscalant market can be segregated into phosphates, carboxylates, fluorides, sulfonates, and others. While sulfonates and carboxylates are used often, phosphates and fluorides are less commonly used antiscalant chemical combinations.
In terms of method, the global antiscalant market can be split into threshold inhibition, crystal modification, and dispersion. These are the three methods through which antiscalants interfere with precipitation reactions and inhibit the formation of scales. Threshold inhibition is an antiscalant’s ability of maintaining supersaturated solutions of soluble salts. Meanwhile, crystal modification is the antiscalant’s ability of distorting crystal shapes, which results in soft non-adherent scales. On the other hand, dispersion is the antiscalant’s ability to adsorb on colloidal particles or crystals to impart a high anionic charge, which helps in keeping the crystals separated.
In terms of end-user industry, the global antiscalant market can be classified into oil & gas, industrial water treatment, pulp & paper, geothermal, mining, coal gasification, desalination, and others. Oil & gas is the common application of antiscalants; it is used at various stages, from extraction of crude oil to its refining.
In terms of region, the global antiscalant market can be segregated into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa.
The global antiscalant market comprises a wide range of companies. Key players operating in the market include Kemira Oyj (Finland), Clariant AG (Switzerland), The Dow Chemicals (the U.S.), BWA Water Additives (the U.K.), General Electric Co. (the U.S.), and Solvay SA (Belgium).
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