European metal surface treatment industries produce 300,000 m3/year of hazardous metal-rich waste[1]. Europe represents 17% of the global market. Thus, globally waste streams are estimated as 1,800,000 m3/year Global surface treatment market is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 6%, during 2018-2023[2]. It can be estimated that the market for the treatment of the metal surface industry waste is approximately 250 million € in Europe, and 1.7 billion € globally.


Market demand was confirmed with market studies conducted with environmental specialist or production managers from the suface treatment industry in Europe. Key findings: i. There is a substantial need for technologies and methods that would be able to replace the current, expensive and hazardous waste generating methods like physicochemical neutralisation used for the treatment of acidic, metal-containing liquids. ii. Acids are in the highest waste treatment cost currently. Metal surface treatment industry faces the same challenges as the printed circuit board manufacturers with their acidic waste streams.

Comparison with competitors

The main competitive solution is a physicochemical neutralisation where the acid is neutralised and a metals are precipitated in a hydroxide sludge. The sludge is currently disposed in landfills and the neutralised water drained to sewage.