SAN JOSE, Calif. — Research analyst Global Industry Analysts Inc. (GIA) is estimating that the global market for heat exchangers is projected to reach $20.8 billion by 2018.

According to the GIA report, titled “Heat Exchangers: A Global Strategic Business Report,” the market for heat exchangers continues to be driven by technology innovation and development. Improvements in energy efficiencies will emerge as a key differentiating factor for manufacturers to compete in the marketplace. Also poised to drive future gains are innovations that help lower total ownership costs, increase durability and efficiency of heat exchangers, and reduce vibration-induced premature failures, especially in shell- and tube-heat exchangers.

With continued technological progress, GIA said the future is forecast to witness applications of microchannel heat exchangers spread to chemical and cryogenic industries. In addition to technology innovation, demand will also be driven by rapid industrialization in developing countries and increasing investment in plant infrastructure.

Against the backdrop of growing pressure on reducing energy consumption, compact heat exchangers (CHEs) are growing in popularity, especially in gas-processing, petrochemicals, and fuel-refining plants. Compact heat exchangers enable superior heat recovery and thereby better heat re-use. Heating of crude oil in oil and gas plants is the most energy-intensive process and compact heat exchangers in this regard can help significantly reduce fuel consumption and operating costs while simultaneously strengthening the company’s bottom line.

Air-cooled heat exchangers, the adoption of which was hitherto limited by its higher installation and operating costs, is now forecast to witness robust growth. With water, especially cooling water for industrial purposes, becoming a scarce and expensive resource, and with environmental concerns and tightening regulations over plumes emitted by cooling towers pushing up cost of operation of cooling towers, air-cooled heat exchangers are now emerging as a cost-effective alternative to cooling towers. Demand for air-cooled heat exchangers in Europe is especially forecast to increase given the increasing water costs, taxes, and concerns over water pollution.

According to GIA, Europe represents the largest market for heat exchangers worldwide, while Asia-Pacific will emerge as the fastest growing regional market. Growth in Asia-Pacific will be especially driven by China.

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Publication date: 12/24/2012