LONDON – The global waste-to-energy market (WTE) was valued at $16.4 billion in 2019, and it is expected to reach $22.6 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3 percent from 2020 to 2030, according to a recent forecast by analyst firm Visiongain.
The emergence of Asia-Pacific as a major hub for WTE development is expected to provide growth opportunities. China and India have been developing their renewable resources to reduce carbon footprints and have been involved in extensive R&D to develop low-cost WTE technologies. These efforts are expected to create immense opportunities for market participants.
Thermal technologies are leading for generating energy from waste. The segment accounted for 87 percent of total market revenue in 2019. Thermal technologies are further segregated into conventional thermal technologies and alternative thermal technologies.
Thermal is the oldest and the most trusted technology used for generating energy from waste. However, the high cost associated with its installation, and its emission of harmful gases during incineration, are expected to hinder the market growth over the forecast period.
Biological treatment is expected to be the fastest growing technology at an estimated CAGR of 5.4 percent from 2020 to 2025. Biological treatments include the treatment of waste with microorganisms to generate energy. These methods are considered more environmentally friendly than thermal technologies and are expected to increase their market penetration over the forecast period.
WTE is gaining status as an important component of integrated waste management strategies as an alternative to relieve the pressure on landfills. The added benefit of WTE over other waste management strategies is the extraction of energy which can be used by the plant itself for its internal energy requirements; the remainder is supplied to the community.
Despite the potential that the sector offers both in terms of waste management and in terms of providing a cheap alternate energy source, many the WTE technologies have been met with public opposition. Even though modern WTE combustion plants are safe and odour-free, public concern remains a barrier and continues to slow the implementation of new projects.