The chemical industry encompasses a broad economic sector. Chemical manufacturers convert raw materials into a variety of industrial and consumer products (e.g., fertilizers, polymers, plastics, dyes). Chemicals are also expected to play a role in the net-zero transition undertaken by governments and corporations, with the manufacturing of solar panels, electric vehicles, and other technologies all requiring inputs from the chemical sector.
Water management remains a low priority for most chemical producers. Although water serves as a critical input for chemical processing and plant cooling, most leading companies have low water recycling rates and few actionable goals related to water use. As such, opportunities are primarily found in wastewater treatment to prevent harmful discharges of nitrogen, phosphorus, and other toxic contaminants.
In addition, public attention is shifting toward the downstream impacts of chemicals (e.g., PFAS in drinking water, harmful algal blooms, plastic pollution), leading to shifting consumer demand and regulations on the manufacturing of certain chemicals.
The chemical sector market forecast focuses on water usage, geographic variability, and key pockets of opportunity. Bluefield’s forecast methodology considers a variety of market and macroeconomic variables, including chemical industry trends, inflationary pressures, facility-level usage, and policy incentives. This report lays out Bluefield’s 2023–2030 forecast for water for chemical capital expenditure and operating expenditure.