The process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat from the primary treatment of waste is called as waste-to-energy. It is also known as energy-from-waste. Waste-to-energy can be called as a form of energy recovery process. Most of the waste-to-energy processes produce electricity and heat directly through combustion or produce combustible fuel commodities such as methane, methanol, ethanol, or synthetic fuels. Presently, the most common waste-to-energy implementation is incineration. It is the combustion of organic materials such as waste with energy recovery. Apart from incineration, other waste-to-energy technologies are thermal technologies and non-thermal technologies. Thermal technologies include gasification, thermal depolymerization, pyrolysis, and plasma arc gasification process. Non-thermal technologies include anaerobic digestion, fermentation production, and mechanical biological treatment.
Growing power consumption owing to rapid industrialization along with increasing focus to derive energy from renewable resources is driving the growth of waste to energy market globally. Factors such as the establishment of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) to fund the projects and following of strict timelines may improve waste management systems by making them adopt alternative renewable source to generate energy from waste. This, in turn, increases the demand for waste-to-energy market globally. Regulatory compliance on waste deposable and treatment techniques in order to reduce GHG emissions are key factors driving the growth of the waste-to-energy market in a positive way. In addition, the shift in trend towards replacing conventional energy generated from fossil fuels with renewable energy to ensure energy security and reduction in carbon emissions are other factors positively impacting the global waste-to-energy market growth. On the other hand, high cost associated with plant infrastructure and installation of expensive components may hinder the global market growth.
On the basis of technology used, the global waste-to-energy market is segmented as thermal and biological. Thermal-based incineration process was the dominant technology implemented for waste to the recovery system. Anaerobic digestion is the commonly used biological technology based process. Its prospects are consistently improving and a continuous capacity expansion is anticipated. Anaerobic digestion is expected to replace composting step for the biodegradable waste treatment.
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Europe is anticipated to witness the highest growth owing to factors such as increased waste production along with regulatory compliance to minimize the overall environmental impact. Further, Asia-Pacific is expected to experience the fastest growth due to factors such as improving economic development and rising disposable incomes. The Asia Pacific waste-to-energy market is being driven by India, China, and Japan.
Major Market Players
Major players dominating the global waste-to-energy market are China Everbright International Limited, Veolia Environment, Covanta Energy Corporation, Constructions Industrielles de la Méditerranée (CNIM), Suez Environment S.A., C&G Environmental Protection Holdings, and Waste Management, Inc. Other key players in the global market are Xcel Energy, Green Conversion Systems, Plasco Energy, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.