In 2011, the world generated an estimated 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste (MSW). Over the next decade this number will grow much higher, increasing global demand for solutions that convert waste into heat and electricity, a family of processes known as waste-to-energy (WTE). WTE encompasses thermal and biological conversion technologies that unlock the usable energy stored in solid waste. High upfront capital costs and attractive economics for landfilling, however, represent persistent barriers to widespread adoption. Although more than 800 thermal WTE plants currently operate in nearly 40 countries around the globe, these facilities treated just 11% of MSW generated worldwide in 2011 compared to the 70% that was landfilled.
According to a new report from Pike Research, this number is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade. Waste-to-energy systems will treat at least 261 million tons of waste annually by 2022, with a total estimated output of 283 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity and heat generation, up from 221 TWh in 2010. Under a more optimistic scenario, WTE will potentially treat 396 million tons of MSW a year, producing 429 TWh of power.
The global market for thermal and biological WTE technologies will reach at least $6.2 billion in 2012 and grow to $29.2 billion by 2022, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts. Under the optimistic forecast scenario, market value could reach $80.6 billion by 2022.
WTE facilities are integrated into broader waste management regimes aimed at preventing the use of landfills. Although combustion technologies continue to lead the market, advanced thermal treatment (ATT) technology deployments such as pyrolysis are expected to pick up as diminishing landfill capacity improves WTE economics. Utilization of biological technologies is also expected to increase worldwide.
Pike Research’s report, “Waste-to-Energy Technology Markets”, analyzes the global market opportunity for WTE across three key technology segments: combustion, gasification, and anaerobic digestion. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the demand drivers, business models, policy factors, and technology issues associated with the rapidly-growing market for WTE. Key industry players are profiled in depth and worldwide revenue and capacity forecasts, segmented by application and region, extend through 2022. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.
Contact: Richard Martin
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