Water-mist Suppression Systems Market to Exceed $400 Million by 2011
IMS Research forecasts the water-mist suppression systems market will grow at a CAGR of 13% to surpass $400 million by 2011. Originally developed to combat fires on-board ships, water-mist systems are quickly gaining appeal and recognition as a viable, ‘green’ and versatile fire suppression technology.
One of the key advantages of water-mist systems over conventional sprinkler systems is that they use significantly less water to control a fire and therefore cause much less damage. As a result the technology is increasingly being employed in a number of new end-user sectors such as machinery spaces, turbine enclosures, industrial pump rooms, and in commercial kitchens. Specially designed sprinkler nozzles divide the water into a mist of small droplets which increases the surface area available for absorbing heat and cooling down a fire. A second extinguishing effect occurs as the fine droplets evaporate and rapidly expand. This draws air away from the fire depriving it of oxygen.
So far most of the demand for the technology has come from the EMEA region (an estimated 70% of the global market in 2007). Demand in North America and Asia has been lower due to fewer local suppliers, the high cost of the systems and reliance on the traditional sprinkler systems. However, it is predicted that demand will increase as more is done to promote the benefits and successes of the technology in these regions.
IMS Research Analyst, James McManus commented, “Although not typically used as a substitute to sprinkler systems, water-mist systems are increasingly being used to supplement sprinkler systems for areas where a more specialist system is required. However, water-mist systems are gaining acceptance in a wide variety of new applications where traditional sprinkler systems tend to be avoided, such as in art museums and in galleries”.
IMS Research predicts the biggest potential for water-mist systems over the next few years will be in the transportation sector, such as airports and tunnels. Most tunnels are currently protected by fire-resistant construction materials that slow down the spread of a fire but this can be insufficient during major fires, such as the Mont-Blanc and Gothard tunnel disasters in 1999 and 2001. As a result of these incidents, countries such as Italy have mandated the use of fire protection systems in all major tunnels, representing a great opportunity for suppliers of fire suppression systems.