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Inhibiting corrosion in utilities infrastructure

Power generation remains the dominant sector accounting for 29.8% of the overall market for corrosion inhibitors

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Corrosion inhibitors have been gaining popularity over the past few years, as it increases the service life of equipment by forming a protective layer on the surface.
Corrosion inhibitors have been gaining popularity over the past few years, as it increases the service life of equipment by forming a protective layer on the surface.

The region’s corrosion inhibitors market is expected to show significant growth over the next few years, owing to rising metal processing, power generation, and construction sector.

According to the World Corrosion Organization, the annual cost of corrosion worldwide is estimated at $2.2 trillion, more than 3% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Corrosion inhibitors have been gaining popularity over the past few years, as it increases the service life of equipment by forming a protective layer on the surface. The global market for corrosion inhibitors stood at $5.99bn in 2015.

Increasing application in water treatment, power generation, refining, construction and mining industries will stimulate product demand over the next eight years.

Rapid urbanisation along with industrialisation in in the GCC will fuel construction industry, which will spur product demand over the next few years. Growing use of corrosion inhibitors as they reduce maintenance costs of the equipment will create immense potential for growth.

Power generation remains the dominant sector accounting for 29.8% of the overall market for corrosion inhibitors. Growing government investments for power generation projects to satisfy growing energy needs is expected drive demand.

Moreover, generation of energy by consuming renewable sources including wind, solar, and hydro is expected to act as a key factor for the industry expansion.

Water-based corrosion inhibitor was valued at $4.49bn in 2015 and will witness significant gains over the next eight years particularly in water treatment on account of lower volatile organic content (VOC) emissions as compared to solvent-based applications.

In addition, they are economical; turn transparent on drying; can be applied using a variety of methods including brush, spray, or immersion; and can be easily removed using water-based cleaners before subsequent operations.

The increasing requirement for industrial and domestic water in various sectors including chemicals, medical, and electronics is expected to drive industry development. Increasing product usage by water treatment plants as they utilise a large amount of machinery that is constantly exposed to various corroding or oxidising chemicals, in order to maintain heat exchange areas and efficiencies will spur market growth.

The growing demand for water storage tanks in the GCC to alleviate high level water shortages has created a growing market for protective coatings that ensure high performance and lasting durability of the stowing equipment.

Efforts to have reliable and constant water supply sources are driving up water storage tank sales which has translated into surging coatings demand as consumers seek to counter the impact of violent weather, temperature swings and constant immersion on the tanks that could be made of concrete, steel or plastic.

These water storage tanks are susceptible to corrosion, which can be averted through quality coating systems. The coatings should be resistant to chemical attacks, have lowest absorption rates and high retention characteristics to enable users cut down on maintenance costs and extend the lifecycle of the water tanks.

According to Dallas Flinch, the director of Industrial and Marine Coatings at The Sherwin-Williams Company, “by design, all potable water storage tanks are inherently susceptible to corrosion attack.”

  “The primary function of a coating is to create a barrier to prevent chemical compounds and moisture from contacting the substrate. While an electrolyte is not always present in this area, preventing water ingress is essential for protection. In addition, the coating must have good adhesion, and chemical and abrasion resistant properties, as well as the ability to withstand ultraviolet radiation.”

Flinch says for the interior tank applications, the approach to corrosion control is different from the exterior one. “The strong electrolyte formed by the stored water creates a vehicle for ion transfer and current flow within the micro structure of the steel. However, coatings can be used to interrupt this process and prevent corrosion damage.”

Equipped with investments and the knowledge on water tanks technology, governments, private companies and non-governmental organisations in the continent have found water storage tanks the best alternative to maintain water supply in the water-stressed GCC, hence laying the foundation for the expansion of the region’s water tank coatings market.

The demand for water tanks is understandable. The GCC is one of the world’s highest water stressed regions.

Oil & gas is expected to be the fastest growing end-user segment as a result of rising product demand in pipelines as they reduce the losses incurred during refinement processes. In addition, the presence of enormous technically recoverable gas reserves in the region will propel market growth over the forecast period.

Corrosion inhibitors market is characterised by product innovation through continuous R&D by key players to improve the performance of their offerings.

Key industry participants include Ashland Inc., AkzoNobel N.V., BASF SE, GE Water and Process Technologies, DuPont, Champion Technology Services, Inc., Renewable Lubricants, Inc., Ecolab Inc., Cytec Industries, Inc., Cortec Corporation, and the Lubrizol Corporation.

Toxic effects of traditional inhibitors on human, plant and marine biology along with increasing disposal issues will restrain industry expansion in the near future. However, constant product innovation for manufacturing several herb and plant extracts as green corrosion inhibitors is anticipated to yield opportunities for market development.  

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