Concerns on the growing volumes of municipal solid waste, the decreasing capacity of landfill sites and the considerable rise in resource consumption will sustain investments in the European waste-to-energy power plant market.
European Union legislations and country-specific regulations have further encouraged the setting up of waste-to-energy plants in the region.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, European Waste to Energy Plant Market, finds that the market earned about $4.22 billion in 2012 and estimates this to reach $4.94 billion in 2016.
"Waste treatment companies are gradually diverting solid waste from landfill sites to use in energy generation owing to regulations on limiting landfills and incentives for lower carbon emissions," said Frost & Sullivan Energy and Environmental Research Analyst Monika Chrusciak. "The conversion of waste to renewable energy through the application of thermal treatment technologies — increasingly viewed as an attractive solution for waste management — reduces operational costs as well."
Despite these benefits, the high initial costs of waste-to-energy treatment solutions may deter potential investors. Furthermore, in the past there was a strong public opposition to the installation of new waste-to-energy plants due to their potential harmful effects on people in the neighborhood, which was major challenge for further market development.
Nevertheless, waste-to-energy is gaining acceptance as manufacturers are building modern units that lower air pollution. New plants comply with the emission levels established by local legal requirements, operate for longer times, and generate better revenue opportunities than landfill sites.
"Incorporating thermal treatment solutions can help waste management companies turn waste material with limited recycling value into a valuable resource," noted Chrusciak. "This will create a range of opportunities for vendors in the region providing innovative, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly technologies."
Collaboration among waste management and energy companies to build integrated solutions with separation, incineration and air pollution cleaning segments that lower emission levels, maximize plant performance, and guarantee returns will be crucial for market expansion in Europe.