TOKYO: Japanese companies that are already playing a key role in water treatment in the Middle East and around the world may be well-poised, as the global need for such treatment rises dramatically.
The local daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Japan is at the forefront of water treatment technology, which includes desalination and sewage purification, and that water as an industry may be worth 100 trillion yen ($960 billion) by the end of this year.
An increasing global population and emerging economies are driving the increasing demand for water treatment, which require industrial, agricultural and potable water. While needs vary from place to place, desalination treatment in particular is important in the Middle East, where there is little rainfall.
A number of Japanese companies are involved in desalination technology, which involves removing salt from water with high pressure and a reverse osmosis membrane. The Kansai-based Toyobo Co. reportedly holds 50% of the market for the technology in Saudi Arabia.
Other Japanese textile and material-manufacturing companies involved in desalination include Toray Industries Inc. and Nitto Denko Corp.
Japanese companies are working in areas of water treatment other than desalination, as well, including sewage purification. For example, Kubota Corp. was the first company to make practical use of membrane bioreactors, a system that cleans sewage with microorganisms and membranes.
Kubota supplied the filtration equipment to one of the largest water treatment facilities in the Middle East, located near Muscat, Oman, and the company’s membrane bioreactor system has been used at over 6,000 facilities in Japan and abroad.