Global WTE market expected to grow

Frost & Sullivan analysis shows demand for waste-to-energy plants in Europe and Asia.

January 24, 2014
REW Staff

A global shift from coal and nuclear power to renewable energy, lower carbon dioxide emissions and national energy security is giving a boost to the waste to energy (WTE) plant market, according to a new analysis from London-based Frost & Sullivan.

The Frost & Sullivan analysis, “Global Waste to Energy Plant Market,” points to WTE revenue of $17.98 billion in 2012 and estimates this to increase to $28.57 billion in 2016. WTE thermal solutions are witnessing robust demand from regions with high population density but limited area, such as Europe and Asia, says the report. Upcoming WTE plants are likely to be in China, the United Kingdom, Central and Eastern Europe (especially Poland), and India. While WTE plants in some geographies are already well developed and are in the process of being modernized to comply with local emission standards, other regions have only just begun installing WTE plants and gaining investor interest, according to Frost & Sullivan.

“Limited availability of land for landfilling and rising public awareness on recycling have stepped up interest in renewable energy sources,” says Frost & Sullivan Energy and Environmental Research Analyst Monika Chrusciak. “At the same time, municipal solid waste (MSW), which is characterized by high calorific value, has been recognized as an attractive energy carrier. This creates opportunities for market participants to provide innovative, economically-sound WTE solutions for the fast growing volumes of MSW globally.”

Environmental regulations also drive the WTE market. Developed countries, which have introduced coherent strategies and incentives, have witnessed robust expansion. The need for refurbishment and modernization of WTE plants is further widening market potential in these regions, according to the report.

On the other hand, developing countries are in a transitional stage and lack effective regulatory structures for WTE conversion and sustainable waste management. Lack of clarity in economic incentives, in particular, leads to ambiguity in the market, says Frost & Sullivan. Developing regions usually use low-cost landfilling solutions to manage excessive volumes of MSW material, meaning the high investment required for advanced WTE techniques sometimes limits adoption.

“To overcome these challenges, market participants must scout for opportunities in countries with escalating energy demand and shrinking natural reserves,” says Chrusciak. “WTE plant suppliers should focus on process integration by developing holistic solutions to provide energy efficiency and positive returns.”