China and UK lead EfW growth

Global EfW market looks strong, but still way off peak commissioning seen in 2000

German-based consultancy ecoprog says approximately three million tonnes of new European energy-from-waste capacity will go online this year with about 50% coming from the UK.

In a report, released on 25 August, researchers found overall plant development in Europe was strong but still down from 2000, when five million tonnes of capacity was commissioned.

Researchers called the British market ‘dynamic’ and also highlighted planned incineration capacities due in France, a market which the reports says had been stagnate for many years.

Eastern Europe is growing demand for refuse-derived fuel (RDF) fired plants, says the report. While the potential for an EU-wide landfill ban in 2020 could further stimulate the EfW market in southern and eastern Europe.

While the facilities market remains strong in Europe the technology market is recovering at a slower rate, according to the report, and could face increased competition from Asia-based business in the near future.

In late 2014, almost 200 plants with a capacity of more than 60 million annual tonnes were active in China. Back in 2000, there were only six operational. No other country in the world is currently incinerating more waste.

There will be another 35 Chinese facilities commissioned by the end of 2015 which will increase the overall capacity to almost 75 million annual tonnes. However, the country’s current five-year plan will expire in late 2015 and the goal of expanding waste incineration to 112 million annual tonnes will not be reached, making future expansion likely.

However, the research also finds development outside Asia and Europe will continue to be ‘modest’ at best. Reforms to Brazil’s waste market, agreed in 2010, could have led to more facilities being built but ‘sluggish’ implementation has held this back.

In the US, where EfW plants are not only struggling with low landfill costs but also with low electricity prices, the number of incineration plants is actually decreasing, the report finds.

Globally, there are more than 2,200 operational EfW plants throughout the world, with an installed treatment capacity of about 280 million tonnes of waste per year. Within the next 10 years, approximately 550 new plants with a capacity of about 150 million annual tonnes are due. 

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