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Global Environmental Sensor and Monitoring Business Forecast to Reach $17.6 Billion in 2019

BCC research estimates that the global environmental sensor and monitoring business will grow from $13.2 billion in 2014 to nearly $17.6 billion in 2019, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9% for the period of 2014 to 2019.

This report provides:

An overview of the global market for environmental sensing and monitoring technologies.
Analyses of global market trends, with data from 2013, estimates for 2014, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2019.
Information on emerging growth areas, such as large-scale monitoring networks.
Breakdowns of sensor applications into categories including temperature sensing, moisture detection, and biological and chemical detection.
Company profiles, including overseas manufacturers as well as development stage companies in which the most innovative technologies are originating.
Relevant patent activity analysis.


There are three principal trends of note in the environmental sensing and monitoring business. The first is the technological revolution in the design and engineering of individual sensors and sensor components. The trend in terms of individual sensors is toward miniaturization. This is based on innovations in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), microfluidics, the use of new materials such as graphene and carbon nanotubes and a myriad of similar innovations discussed in this report. Making sensors smaller lowers material costs and energy requirements and makes large distributed networks possible. The second trend is the continual improvements in the specificity of sensor detection. Much lower threshold levels of detection have been achieved and this is the case both with chemical detection and also in other environmental monitoring techniques such as satellite imagery. Ever finer resolution of both physical and chemical parameters is being achieved. All of this makes the sensing techniques that much more valuable and hence attractive for purchase.

The third principal trend is the development of the environmental sensor and monitoring networks themselves. There is an explosion in the number, extent and capacity of these networks, so much so that this report can only provide a sampling of some notable ones. At the governmental level alone, annual expenditures on maintenance and operation of these networks is nearly $500 million just in the U.S. One newer aspect of this networking is the creation of distributed satellite networks, launched and managed by private companies.
Sensor networks allow distributed sensing capacity, real-time data visualization and analysis, and integration with adjacent networks and remote sensing data streams. In regard to networking from space, with additional satellites, networked coverage of the globe's surface is becoming ever more comprehensive. Underpinning the development of networks is the miniaturization of electronics, the availability of massive data storage and computational capacity, and the Internet. As this report documents, environmental sensor networks have been firmly established, and large new networks are actively in development. New projects range from those that are continental in scope and those managed via satellite data acquisition to those that only monitor local conditions. The range of variables measured includes daily CO2 fluxes to decadal shifts in temperatures. Sensor systems can monitor physical and biological activity, as well as measure groundwater fluxes and nutrient dynamics.


The global environmental remediation and monitoring business is huge. In the U.S. market alone, some $250 billion of economic output stems from all pollution control and monitoring activities each year. Among the faster-growing segments of this cleanup business are the markets for sophisticated sensors; monitoring equipment; and large-scale networks, such as satellite, GPS and remote sensing; associated networking equipment and ancillaries; and a large slate of new technologies. Globally, the markets for environmental sensors and the related subsegments (e.g., monitoring, networks, remote sensing) account for approximately $13 billion of economic activity at present, with a projected average annual growth of 5.9% through 2019.

The purpose of this report is to measure and forecast the demand for sensor equipment, systems and networks that are sold for terrestrial, oceanic and atmospheric environmental sensing. The report defines markets for sensors and/or sensor systems (e.g., monitoring networks), and then separately defines markets for the advanced materials and advanced sensor concepts that represent markets of the future. Cutting-edge developments, such as in nanotechnology, MEMS and other advanced materials for which considerable Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Science Foundation (NSF) research dollars have been expended, are covered. Nanotechnology-based chemical sensors can provide high-sensitivity, low-power, and low-cost portable tools for in situ chemical analysis in space and terrestrial applications. An additional purpose of this report is to assess the needs of long-term environmental monitoring applications and to summarize the capabilities of emerging sensor technologies.

Environmental sensors come in literally thousands of forms and types based on a wide range of physical and chemical principles with varying types of usable outputs. Typical contaminants monitored are metals, volatile organic compounds, biological contaminants and radioisotopes. The field applications of sensors are also extremely varied. Among the key trends in the environmental sensors business is miniaturization down to the nano scale, continuous and/or real-time sensing capabilities, wireless networked operation, rapid processing and increased sensitivity or flexibility. Areas of environmental focus include water supplies and watershed data, vehicular emissions, combustion of fossil fuels, agricultural runoff, industrial and mine waste disposal, ocean spills and dumping, climate change and weather monitoring, and seismic events.

Environmental sensors and monitoring technologies have not only become a substantial high-technology business, but future growth is almost preordained due to the fact that global economies must manage their environmental impact or eventually destroy themselves. At the same time that environmental cleanup is more or less forced onto the policy-making agenda, technology revolutions in nanotechnology, semiconductors (e.g., lab-on-a-chip) and communications are facilitating sensor product development and implementation.


This BCC study focuses on key environmental sensor technologies and applications. It also provides data regarding the size and growth of numerous sensor markets, company profiles, and industry trends. Cutting edge developments, research priorities, and potential business opportunities are also examined.
This report covers:
The environmental sensor industry and its structure, and the many companies involved in providing these products.
Emerging growth areas, such as large-scale monitoring networks.
Development stage companies in which the most innovative technologies are originating.
Markets for environmental sensors, including passive, active, electromechanical and semiconductors.
Sensor applications in temperature sensing, moisture detection, and biological and chemical detection.
Company profiles, including overseas manufacturers.
Patent activity.


With its broad scope and in-depth analyses, this study will prove to be a valuable resource for anyone involved with or interested in environmental sensors. It will be particularly useful for researchers; laboratory and government personnel working in research or company settings; and business professionals, such as marketing managers, strategic planners, forecasters, and new product and business developers who are involved with most aspects of the sensors industry. It also will be of value to potential investors and members of the general public who are interested in acquiring a business-oriented view of the use of sensors in environmental monitoring. The projections, forecasts and trend analyses found in this report provide readers with the necessary data and information for decision making.


Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used in the preparation of this study. The research methodology was both quantitative and qualitative in nature. Market data was derived from trade sources, self-reported data by companies, and government statistics covering the pollution control markets and the sensor and instrumentation markets. The most recent academic literature on environmental sensors was reviewed. Other key market information sources include sensor magazines and journals, books, trade literature, marketing literature, product and promotional literature, annual reports, security analyst reports and government publications. A patent search and analysis was conducted.

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