Waste-to-Energy market continues strong growth

Throughout the world, about 128 new plants will be commissioned in 2015 and 2016. Most of this increase will happen in Asia, which is becoming ever more important as a market region. However, the European market also shows some signs of revival.

The number of waste incineration plants has increased further. In 2015 and 2016, about 128 new plants will go online throughout the world, with additional treatment capacities adding up to around 31 million annual tons. Most of these capacities are to be installed in new incineration plants, others will be expansions of existing facilities.

In late 2015, almost 2,150 incineration plants were operational worldwide, reaching a treatment capacity of more than 300 million annual tons.
With an average of about 15 million annual tons of incineration capacity to be installed additionally, the Waste-to-Energy market remains at an all-time high. At the same time, the facilities are unevenly distributed in the different world regions, and this situation will even become more drastic. In 2015/2016, about 12 to 13 million annual tons of treatment capacity was constructed per year in Asia. This significant volume has remained stable since 2010 and is a sharp increase over 2007, when less than 4 million annual tons were constructed. China alone built more than 150 incineration plants with an installed capacity of over 50 million annual tons between 2011 and 2015.
The rest of the world is facing a more difficult situation. Europe has "only" commissioned 2 to 3 million annual tons of incineration capacity since 2012 - whereas this volume was over 4 million annual tons during the booming years between 2008 and 2010. All other regions are of minor importance for the WtE market. In North America, for example, the number of incineration plants has been decreasing for years, as a result of the low energy prices. There are only few new projects and 1 to 2 old plants are shut down per year.
Asia will therefore continue to dominate the WtE market in the years to come. As the targets of the past Five-Year Plan have not been reached, the country still has come catching up to do and we therefore expect the Chinese construction boom to continue in the foreseeable future. Concurrently, the Asian market will diversify, as in the past months planned WtE projects have become more certain in emerging nations such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
However, there are also more and more indicators for a reviving European market. The number of WtE projects on the British waste market remains large and project planning is also increasing in Southern and Eastern Europe. The Italian Government has recently decided the planning of 8 new plants, France sees an increasing number of RDF incineration projects and Poland is preparing further WtE facilities for EU funding.
Whereas increasing waste amounts, shortages of land and the desire to increase independence in the energy sector are the main market drivers in Asia, EU waste policies continue to be the most important market factor in Europe.

Altogether, we expect more than 600 new waste incineration plants with a capacity of over 170 million annual tons to be constructed within the next 10 years.
The globalisation of the competition in the Waste-to-Energy industry continues to increase. Whereas in the past years Asian companies mainly took over European technology suppliers, activities have now shifted towards operating companies. Recently, especially Chinese firms have acquired companies in Germany (EEW), Poland (Novago) and Spain (Urbaser), with further takeovers in progress. One motivation of the investors is to gain operational know-how, which should translate into an advantage on the ever more competitive Chinese market.
ecoprog's "Waste to Energy" market study is the world's most extensive analysis and data collection on thermal waste recovery. We update this report annually and the 9th edition for the years 2016/2017 is now available at: www.ecoprog.com
As a respected industry expert, ecoprog accompanies clients from Germany and abroad in dealing with implementation-oriented management issues with political, technical or economic backgrounds in the environmental and energy technology industries. We work in the fields of strategy consulting, market and competition analyses as well as multi-client studies.

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