Global UV Disinfection Market at a Glance

Information flow and market research on UV technologies have improved since the “Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection: Global Strategic Business Report” of March 2023 was added to offerings from marketing insight and analysis resource Research and Markets.¹ Here is its recent summary (provided for interest, not peer review, and no endorsement should be assumed):

  • The ultraviolet (UV) disinfection market in the U.S. [was] estimated at US $1.2 billion in the year 2022. China, the world’s second-largest economy, is forecast to reach a projected market size of US $2.8 billion by the year 2030, trailing a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 16.2 percent over the analysis period 2022 to 2030.
  • Among the other noteworthy geographic markets are Japan and Canada, each forecast to grow at 10.5 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively, over the 2022-2030 period. Within Europe, Germany is forecast to grow at approximately 11.2 percent CAGR. Led by countries such as Australia, India, and South Korea, the market in Asia-Pacific is forecast to reach US $2 billion by the year 2030.
  • The global market for UV disinfection, estimated at US $4.7 billion in 2022, is projected to reach a revised size of US $12.9 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 13.4 percent over the analysis period 2022-2030.
  • UV lamps, one of the segments analyzed in the report, is projected to record a 14.6 percent CAGR and reach US $5.4 billion by the end of the analysis period. Considering the ongoing post-pandemic recovery, growth in the ballasts/controller units’ segment is readjusted to a revised 12.9 percent CAGR for the next eight-year period.²

UV LED Research Sponsored by the Water Research Foundation

Over the past two years, the Water Research Foundation (WRF) has funded three interesting, timely, and exciting projects related to UV LED (ultraviolet light emitting diode). A special thanks to H. Grace Jang, research program manager at WRF, for providing the following information.

Recently Funded WRF Project 5173: Feasibility of Full-Scale Implementation of UV LED Disinfection. The work will commence shortly and involves a large number of task participants, led by Graham Gagnon of Dalhousie University. The abstract states, “The objective of the proposed project is to perform a quantitative assessment of the feasibility of full-scale UV LED water disinfection reactors for drinking water and wastewater treatment applications through a One Water approach.” (More about the One Water movement can be found at

This proposal outlines four tasks. Task 1A is led by engineering, procurement, consulting, and construction company Black & Veatch and includes 15 regulator stakeholders from across North America as part of UV LED surveys and workshops. Task 1B, led by Gagnon and Karl Linden (University of Colorado Boulder, or CU Boulder), will consist of a published, peer-reviewed literature review, which will establish the state of the art for UV LED technologies and inform the bench-scale methods for studying UV LED disinfection in Task 2.

Task 2 is an interlaboratory study led by Dalhousie and CU Boulder. Each lab will, in parallel, collect water from five participating water utilities from across North America to benchmark UV LED performance while simultaneously establishing a harmonized protocol for bench-scale UV LED studies.

Task 3 will investigate UV LED disinfection of surface water sources, groundwater sources, and wastewater effluent. Task 3A utilizes a 10-gallons-per-minute (gpm) UV LED reactor installed within the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority network. The Southern Nevada Water Authority has the largest installed UV LED reactor in North America and will lead Task 3B activities at its installation site over six months. A 100-gpm, closed-channel UV LED reactor will be installed at one of Halifax Water’s wastewater facilities for Task 3C. This work assesses the feasibility of UV LED disinfection for wastewater matrices over the course of a six-month study period.

Task 4 will deliver an economic model and life cycle analysis for UV LED installation and use, and incorporate information from all previous tasks to inform and provide guidance to utilities, regulators, and stakeholders that are considering UV LED technologies.

WRF Funded Project 5213, Inactivation of Biofilm-Bound Opportunistic Pathogens in Premise Plumbing Using UVC LEDs. The work began in December 2022 under the direction of Karl Linden at CU Boulder. The abstract states:

  • Opportunistic pathogens have been detected in biofilms in building plumbing, presenting potential risks to drinking-water quality and safety. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) emitting germicidal UV radiation are an emerging UV technology, and previous studies show that they could be an ideal solution for long-term management or water distribution systems and building plumbing pathogens. Advantages of UV LEDs include small footprint, lifetime, selectable emission wavelength, high power density, instantaneous powering on, and no direct disinfection byproduct production. The goal of this research is to investigate the potential role for UV technology in minimizing the formation of adverse biofilms and controlling opportunistic pathogens in water distribution pipe networks.³

Other specific information and progress of the ongoing project are available.

In 2022, WRF Funded Project 5218, Inactivation of Amoeba-Internalized Legionella pneumophila by UV LED and Multi-Barrier Approaches. The work began in March 2023 under the direction of Ariel Atkinson at the Southern Nevada Water Authority. The abstract states:

  • Legionnaire’s disease represents most water-related deaths in the United States and continues to climb, with current estimates at 52,000 to 70,000 L. pneumophila-caused illnesses each year. This incidence rate exceeds the 1 in 10,000 risk benchmarks commonly used for determining pathogen targets in quantitative microbial risk assessments. Understanding the implications of amoeba-internalized Legionella remains an overlooked area of research to provide more accurate and meaningful monitoring by utilities and public health agencies. The proposed project also will add crucial information on the efficacy of conventional treatment strategies for Legionella, as well as demonstrate the benefits of emerging technology (UV LED) and multi-barrier strategies. The results of this project will provide critical information and guidance that is necessary for better Legionella management by utilities, building water system operators, public health agencies, and the water industry.⁴

Other specific information and progress of the ongoing project are available.

UV Technology and PFAS

No article in 2023 related to One Water would be complete without the mention of PFAS. Likely well known to most water-industry professionals, the EPA proposed regulations for six PFAS compounds in March 2023. Maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOA and PFOS are proposed as four parts per trillion (approximately four nanograms per liter). A weighted cumulative (additive) hazard index approach was proposed for the PFAS compounds perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA, also known as GenX), where the total sum must be one or less to comply with the MCL.

Experienced professionals in the water industry also recognize that the journey from proposed MCLs of this low level and complexity to the finalized and enforceable standards for PFAS can be long and slow. For further detail and clarification, a concise set of summary slides can be downloaded from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.

PFAS and related societal (health), economic, and environmental concerns have sparked an unprecedented level of activity among One Water and related professionals in all levels of the family of five (utilities, service providers, manufacturers, regulators, and researchers), which rivals and surpasses historically significant issues, including disinfection byproducts and microbial risk. Naturally, it leads one to ask if some form of UV technology could be a silver bullet for PFAS, as it was for Cryptosporidium.

To date, one must conclude that is unlikely, since direct photolysis, as well as advanced oxidation by advanced oxidation procedures, have not been proven practical or are not likely to gain widespread use for the six regulated PFAS compounds when compared to the current benchmarks of granular activated carbon and/or IX sorption processes. Ongoing research into UV-driven advanced reduction processes has shown some promising results, and, with each year, more is learned about related topics, such as PFAS precursors also present in drinking water.

Water professionals should note that, like any other emerging and intensely studied topic, the development and understanding of appropriate approaches for selection, design, operation, and maintenance of solutions to reduce the risks of PFAS compounds to human health and environment are in their infancy. Technological advancement will follow the saw-tooth curve of understanding and potential implementation (e.g., three steps forward and two steps back).


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Reprint permission granted by UV Solutions magazine (, a publication of the International Ultraviolet Association.

About the authors
Castine A. Bernardy is a PhD candidate in civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire and can be reached by email at castine[email protected].
James P. Malley Jr., PhD, is professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire and can be reached by email at [email protected].


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