Region/Countries: Asia, Japan Industry: Water / Clean Technology Date: April 2019

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies in water technology can connect with Japanese companies at an upcoming trade show.

The size of the global water business was estimated at $362 billion in 2007, and is projected to grow to $865 billion by 2025. 97.5% of the water on the earth is seawater, and 2.5% is fresh water. More than 80% of fresh water is in the form of icebergs, glaciers and groundwater, and the available water on the surface of the earth is only 0.01%. Water-related businesses include development of water resources, supply for industrial water, water recycling, waterworks supply, sewage disposal and fresh water generation. There are also water disposal plant manufacturers, water maintenance service providers, water consulting firms, trading companies and others who deal with water industry businesses. There is no foreseeable end to the need for services and technologies to assist in utilizing the limited supply of water on Earth.

Within the water industry, the “water major” companies include Veolia Environment in France, Suez Environment in France and Thames Water Utilities in England. In Japan, there are no water majors, but each company sells its technology to segments of the water business. Suppliers of water disposal machines and equipment include Asahi Kasei, Ebara, Kubota, Sasakura, Sekisui, Teijin, Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric and Yokokawa Electric. Engineering companies include IHI, Kurita Kogyo, JFE Engineering, Chiyoda Kako, Toyo Engineering, Nikki, Hitachi Plant and Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, among others. Trading companies include Itochu Co., Sumitomo Corp., Mitsui Co., Mitsubishi Corp., Marubeni Co. and others.

Water treatment is needed to improve the quality of water to make it more acceptable for specific uses—such as drinking, industrial water supply, irrigation, river flow maintenance or water recreation—and return it safely to the environment. This treatment is crucial to human health and allows humans to benefit from both drinking and irrigation use.

Saline water can be treated to yield fresh water. Two main processes are used for this: reverse osmosis and distillation. Some industries, such as the production of silicon wafers, space technology and high-quality metallurgical processes, require ultra-pure water. The production of such water typically involves many stages, and can include reverse osmosis, ion exchange and several distillation stages using solid tin apparatus. This method is extremely useful by making water production pure by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water quality standards. Mitsubishi Electric is one of leading companies for ozone generation machines. Kubota and Mitsubishi Rayon are leading companies for MBR filters. Asahi Kasei, Kubota and Mitsubishi Rayon are leading companies for MF and UF filters. Nitto Denko, Toray and Toyobo are leading companies for RO and NF filters. There are Japanese manufactures who specialize in the areas of filters, pumps, titanium and freshwater generation plants. There may be an opportunity for Wisconsin companies to work with any of these.

The Water and Environment Technology Conference 2019 (WET2019) will be held in Suita City, Osaka, Japan on July 13-14, 2019. The conference will focus on topics related to water environment and provide a hybrid-type forum to promote the exchange of information, ideas and knowledge among scientists, engineers and students. A workshop organized by Japan Young Water Professionals will be held concomitantly with WET2019.