Siemens intends its water business to grow twice as fast as the market

Posted: Thursday 13th May 2010

Main potential for growth in Asia and Latin America, European business also set to be expanded.

Siemens AG is expecting sustainable growth in the worldwide water business over the next few years. The market volume for water and wastewater treatment will increase globally by an average of five percent per annum until 2015. The company is aiming to expand at double that rate in this field. Growth drivers are the increasing demand for drinking water for the rising world population, and enormous deficits in wastewater treatment, above all in the course of progressive urbanization. The main impulses in this business will come fromAsiaandLatin America. InEurope, Siemens intends to strengthen and expand its water business from a new central office inErlangen,Germany. "We are the only supplier that has technologies for every stage of water and wastewater treatment, which enables us to meet the demands in this business. But we can only maintain a reliable supply of clean water to towns, communities and industry if there is massive investment in the treatment of waste water", said Jens Michael Wegmann, CEO of the Industry Solutions Division of the Industry Sector.

The challenges faced in supplying the world's population with water are huge. According to the United Nations statement for World Water Day on March 22, 2010, 1.1 billion people currently have no access to fresh drinking water, and 2.6 billion have no sanitary facilities. Water, as a raw material for industrial production, is also ever more frequently becoming a resource problem and cost factor. Shortages caused by fallen water tables are today already threatening the further development of major cities and industrial locations in South European countries and several states of the USA. At the same time, ever-stricter environmental regulations are placing new demands on technical solutions for water and wastewater treatment.

The Siemens Industry Sector, with its Industry Solutions, Industry Automation, Drive Technologies and Building Technologies Divisions, as well as Osram, recently achieved annual sales of around 2.2 billion euros in the water business. The Munich technology corporation has the world's widest-ranging product portfolio for physical and biological water purification and primary sludge treatment, and also offers its customers automation solutions, and energy-efficient pump drives and controllers. This is backed up by maintenance, modernization and plant expansion services. "Our process competence and technical solutions help us to stand out from the competition", Wegmann added. Alongside complex solutions for the construction of industrial water cycles, Siemens' second focus is on municipal water and wastewater treatment plants. Siemens supplies plants for both megacities, that is cities with populations of over ten million, as well as for villages in Africa with up to 500 inhabitants. Mobile treatment plants are also available to help when disasters occur.

Wegmann also sees new potential in automation and the use of pump systems with a lower energy consumption: "The water industry requires great amounts of energy to run its water and wastewater networks, and 40 percent of it could be saved." Every municipality has potential leverage in hand here, with which it can not only save money but also protect the environment. The energy consumed to supply water currently accounts for around five percent of world CO2 emissions.

Siemens looks after over 200,000 different water and wastewater treatment plants located throughout the world. In Orange County, California, almost 30,000 cubic meters of waste water are treated every day for use by industry and agriculture. Siemens installed a water treatment plant with a capacity of 40,000 cubic meters per day for the Olympic Games in Beijing. The capacity of this plant is now planned to be expanded to 100,000 cubic meters per day, so that it can supply a whole area of the city with drinking water. Siemens automation technology controls the sewage treatment plant in Vienna round-the-clock. In Germany, Siemens disinfects the drinking water for towns and cities such as Berlin, in a waterpark in Neufahrn near Munich, Germany, Siemens has reduced by using an energy saving concept the average power consumption by 45 percent.

Siemens also sees great potential for growth in its own water business in Europe. In future, Erlangen will control some 600 employees working in the competence centers in Italy (municipal waste water), Great Britain (drinking water treatment and water treatment for the oil and gas industry), Germany and Belgium (ultra-pure water for the pharmaceutical industry and disinfection). "This is another step toward the internationalization of our water business", said Wegmann. The Siemens water business originated and has its headquarters in the USA.

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