Waste-to-energy Market - Snapshot

Waste-to-energy is one of the most effective alternative energy options to reduce CO2 emissions and replace fossil fuels. It is not just a trash disposal method, but a way to recover valuable resources. Waste-to-energy is a vital part of a sustainable waste management chain and it is completely complementary to recycling.

Favorable Government Initiatives and Policies

Over the last few years, renewable investments are focused on reducing worldwide dependence on coal and other fossil fuels. Several new waste-to-energy projects are being established across the world and they would start contributing to the global energy mix on a consistent basis in the next few years. Favorable government initiatives and policies are driving the waste-to-energy market. Policies such as feed-in-tariffs, tax credits, and capital subsidies have been offered for waste-to-energy in China, India, the U.S., and countries in the EU. The Government of India has recognized waste-to-energy as a renewable technology and it supports the technology through subsidies and incentives. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) is actively promoting technology options available for recovery of energy from urban and industrial wastes. MNRE is also promoting research on waste-to-energy by offering financial support for R&D projects on a cost-sharing basis in accordance with its R&D policy. The aim of the landfill directive is to minimize landfilling within the EU so as to prevent and reduce negative effects of waste landfills on the environment and human health. These supportive regulations and policies of governments are propelling the market for waste-to-energy.

High Initial Investment

The initial capital required to build a waste-to-energy plant is high. This is likely to restrict the market during the forecast period. According to the Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council (WTERT), a plant with the capacity to process one thousand tons of waste every day can cost between US$ 110 Mn and US$ 140 Mn to build. High initial cost is incurred due to several necessary equipment such as feedstock preprocessing equipment, storage equipment, digester, and energy generator. Municipal solid waste (MSW) plants can take several years to become financially beneficial. The initial cost of a digester is approximately US$ 600 per ton of annual waste throughput capacity. Average payback time for an anaerobic digestion project is more than five years. Thus, high initial cost of waste-to-energy plants restrains the market.


Growing Population and Increasing Disposable Income Raise Waste Generation

The current population of China is approximately 1.38 billion. The country is followed by India and the U.S. Increase in population leads to the rise in solid waste generation. This, in turn, is projected to increase the supply of feedstock for waste-to-energy plants in the near future. Moreover, rise in the disposable income in countries such as China and India is directly proportional to increase in the per capita waste generation. This creates lucrative opportunities for the waste-to-energy market. These countries are expected to improve their waste disposal practices by reducing landfills and promoting waste-to-energy. This is likely to drive the waste-to-energy market in these countries in the next few years.

Developments in terms of Expansion, Acquisitions, and New Contracts in Waste-to-energy Market

In December 2018, Veolia Middle East, a subsidiary of Veolia, entered into an agreement with Sadara Chemical Company for construction and operation of a sustainable industrial waste-to-energy facility in PlasChem Park, an industrial park in Saudi Arabia. In October 2018, Veolia Australia & New Zealand, another subsidiary of Veolia, was selected to operate and maintain the first energy recovery facility i.e. the Kwinana project. The plant is anticipated to generate 40 MW of clean energy, which is enough to power 50,000 households. During the same period, Keppel Seghers Belgium N.V., a wholly owned subsidiary of Keppel Infrastructure Holdings Pte Ltd (Keppel Infrastructure), secured a contract to supply waste-to-energy (WtE) technology and services worth over US$ 80 Mn (EUR 70 Mn) to Australia's first WtE plant in Kwinana. In September 2018, SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK, a subsidiary of SUEZ, confirmed its plans to build a new waste-to-energy facility near Billingham in Stockton-on-Tees, which is aimed to cater to the public sector and commercial customers in the North East and Scotland. The new facility, the third structure on the Haverton Hill site, has been permitted to treat 200,000 tons of residual waste every year. In April 2018, SUEZ was awarded a contract for a new waste-to-energy and material recovery facility by SICTOBA and SIDOMSA waste treatment agencies. The new 20-year contract, worth a total of US$ 98 Mn (EUR 80 Mn), includes design, construction, and operation of the future recovery facility, which is likely to become operational in 2020. In March 2018, Keppel Seghers Belgium N.V. and Keppel Seghers UK Limited (collectively, Keppel Seghers) secured two performance bonuses and signed a five-year technical support agreement of over US$ 9.8 Mn (GBP 7 Mn) with Runcorn Energy-from-Waste Facility.

Asia Pacific Waste-to-energy Market to Expand at a Rapid Pace

Europe dominated the global waste-to-energy market in 2017. Increasing government incentives, renewable energy targets, and rising investments in the biogas technology in the region are expected to drive the waste-to-energy market in Europe during the forecast period. In 2016 alone, 41 new biomethane plants were opened in Europe. Moreover, the waste-to-energy market in Asia Pacific is expected to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period. Energy consumption is on the rise in several countries in Asia such as India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and South Korea. Rapid industrialization coupled with rising importance for renewable energy generation is expected to drive the market in the region during the forecast period.

Highly Competitive Market with Dominance of Top Players

The global waste-to-energy market is highly fragmented. A large number of local and international players provide waste-to-energy services. Key players operating in the global market are Veolia, SUEZ, Covanta Holding Corporation, Keppel Corporation Limited, Constructions industrielles de la Méditerranée (CNIM), China Everbright International Limited, Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, Inc., STEAG GmbH, Future Biogas Limited, and Gazasia Ltd.

Waste to energy Market - Overview

The world is currently facing challenges arising out of shortage of conventional fossil fuels and degradation of the environment. In order to overcome these issues, renewable energy resources are being used increasingly. The need to produce energy from renewable resources has risen. Waste-to-energy (WtE) is a type of renewable energy. It is a process wherein energy is generated from the treatment of waste, thereby turning waste into a source of power generation.

The energy produced from this process is similar to that produced by using coal, natural gas, or oil. The waste-to-energy process is expected to reduce landfilling of municipal solid wastes (MSWs) by 90%, which can further reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Japan and Germany are major countries in terms of waste treatment for energy recovery. Japan converts approximately 65% of its waste into energy. The share of waste disposed of in landfills is nearly 3%; the rest of it is either recycled or composted. Germany is the world’s first major renewable energy economy, as it extensively uses renewable energy for power, heating, and transport. More than 120 waste-to-energy plants were operating in Germany by the end of 2016.

This report analyzes and forecasts the waste-to-energy market at the global and regional levels. The market has been forecast based on value (US$ Mn) and volume (thousand tons) for the period from 2018 to 2026, considering 2017 as the base year. The study includes drivers and restraints of the global waste-to-energy market. It also covers the expected impact of these drivers and restraints on the demand for waste-to-energy during the forecast period. The report also highlights opportunities for the waste-to-energy market at the global and regional levels.

The report includes detailed value chain analysis, which provides a comprehensive view of the global waste-to-energy market. Porter’s Five Forces model for the waste-to-energy market has also been included to help understand the competition landscape of the market. The study encompasses market attractiveness analysis, wherein waste type, technology, and application segments have been benchmarked based on their market size, growth rate, and general attractiveness.

The study provides a decisive view of the global waste-to-energy market by segmenting it in terms of waste type, technology, application, and region/country. In terms of waste type, the market has been classified into municipal solid waste (MSW), agricultural waste, and others. Based on technology, the waste-to-energy market has been divided into thermochemical and biochemical. In terms of application, the market has been segregated into electricity, heat, and others. These segments have been analyzed based on the present and future trends. Regional segmentation includes the current and forecast demand for waste-to-energy in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa.

The report provides size (in terms of volume and value) of the waste-to-energy market for the base year 2017 and the forecast between 2018 and 2026. Market numbers have been estimated based on waste type, technology, and application segments of the waste-to-energy market. Market value and volume have been provided for the global, regional, and country-level markets.

The report comprises profiles of major companies operating in the global waste-to-energy market. Key players operating in the global market are Veolia, SUEZ, Covanta Holding Corporation, Keppel Corporation Limited, Constructions industrielles de la Méditerranée (CNIM), China Everbright International Limited, Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, Inc., STEAG GmbH, Future Biogas Limited, and Gazasia Ltd. Market players have been profiled in terms of attributes such as company overview, financial overview, and recent developments.

The global waste-to-energy market has been segmented as follows:

Global Waste-to-energy Market, by Waste Type

  • Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
  • Agricultural Waste
  • Others

Global Waste-to-energy Market, by Technology

  • Thermochemical
    • Incineration
    • Others
  • Biochemical
    • Anaerobic Digestion
    • Others

Global Waste-to-energy Market, by Application

  • Heat
  • Electricity
  • Others

Global Waste-to-energy Market, by Region

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • Sweden
    • U.K.
    • France
    • Italy
    • Switzerland
    • Belgium
    • Spain
    • Netherlands
    • Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • Japan
    • South Korea
    • Australia
    • ASEAN
    • Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Rest of Latin America
  • Middle East & Africa (MEA)
    • GCC
    • Rest of Middle East & Africa

Key Takeaways

  • Europe is the leading region of the global waste-to-energy market. The region constitutes more than 35% share of the global market. The market in Asia Pacific is expected to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period.
  • Europe had around 520 waste-to-energy plants in 2016, with all EU28 countries active in the WtE production, along with Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland
  • Recently, concerns related to fossil fuels have increased. This presents opportunities for service providers operating in the waste-to-energy market.
  • Around 75 waste-to-energy facilities operate in 23 states of the U.S. They have capacity to process approximately 94,000 tons of waste per day and a base load electricity generation capacity of approximately 2,534 MWh (megawatt hours).
  • According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 114 bioenergy and energy-from-waste plants are currently operating in Australia