The market for waste-to-energy (WtE) is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 6.45% during the forecast period of 2020 – 2025. An increasing amount of waste generation and growing concern for its management to meet the need for sustainable urban living and increasing focus on non-fossil fuel sources of energy are driving the adoption of waste-to-energy market. The market is restrained by the expensive nature of incinerators, particularly as energy prices decline, and a number of plants are unable to cover operating costs. Further, several European countries and Japan are planning to focus more on recycling, which saves three to five times more energy and hence, restraining the waste-to-energy market.
- Thermal technology is expected to dominate the waste-to-energy market in 2019 owing to the increasing development in the incineration and gasification technologies, as well as the increasing amount of waste generated, especially from the growing economies of Asia-Pacific.
- Emerging waste-to-energy technologies, such as Dendro Liquid Energy (DLE), which is four times more efficient in terms of electricity generation, with additional benefits of no emission discharge and effluence problems at plant sites are expected to create significant opportunities for the market players, over the coming years.
- Asia-Pacific dominated the market across the globe, with the majority of demand coming from China and Japan.
Key Market Trends
Growing Demand for Thermal-Based Waste-to-Energy Conversion
- As of 2019, thermal technology is expected to account for the highest market share in the global waste-to-energy market. This trend of dominance by the thermal division is expected to continue in the coming years owing to the increasing developments in the technologies of incineration and gasification.
- It is estimated that plants, which utilize cogeneration of thermal power (heating and cooling), together with electricity generation, can reach optimum efficiencies of 80%.
- In the present scenario, incineration is the most well-known waste-to-energy technology for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) processing. However, waste-to-energy technologies, particularly incineration, produce pollution and carry potential health safety risks. In order to reduce particulate and gas-phase emissions, incineration plant owners have adopted a series of process units for cleaning the flue gas stream, which has, in turn, led to a significant improvement in terms of environmental sustainability
- The thermal-based waste-to-energy conversion is expected to lead the market, particularly in growing economies of Asia-Pacific, where the rising urban population is expected to be the key contributing factor for increasing municipal solid waste (MSW). Other factors, such as industrialization, economic development, would also contribute towards MSW generation, which is further expected to influence the growth of the thermal-based waste-to-energy market.
Asia-Pacific to Dominate the Market
- Asia-Pacific has witnessed significant development in the waste-to-energy industry in the past few years. It has dominated the market across the globe with increasing efforts taken by the government in adopting better MSW management practices, providing incentives for waste-to-energy projects in the form of capital subsidies and feed-in tariffs, and providing financial support for R&D projects on a cost-sharing basis.
- Due to economic development and rapid urbanization in China, the generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) has been increasing rapidly. Therefore, the effective disposal of municipal solid waste has become a serious environmental challenge in China.
- In China, the number of incineration plants has increased from 74 in 2008 to 286 in 2017. Beijing is planning to double its incineration capacity and burn 54% of the MSW by 2020. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping's plan to tackle pollution, the incineration industry is expected to continue its expansion, to replace stinky, polluting, land-intensive garbage dumps. Moreover, with its burgeoning economy producing vast quantities of garbage (increasing 8-10% annually), China is turning to new facilities that burn solid waste to produce electricity.
- Japan has been one of the leading markets for waste-to-energy in Asia-Pacific. The country's waste-to-energy market is driven by efficient solid waste management and financial support for waste-to-energy projects from both national and local governments. Moreover, to preserve the environment, the country is expected to introduce waste management and recycling technologies, which effectively turn waste into resources or appropriately disposes of it.
- Therefore, factors such as the increasing amount of waste generated and the efforts taken by various governments to tackle this situation are expected to boost the demand for waste-to-energy plants in the coming years.
The global waste-to-energy (WtE) market is fragmented in nature. The key players in this market include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Waste Management Inc., A2A SpA, Veolia Environnement SA, Hitachi Zosen Corp, China Everbright International Limited, and China Jinjiang Environment Holding Company Limited.
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