Value of European EfW market will rise to $5bn by 2016

Investment in the European energy-from-waste (EfW) market is expected to reach $5bn by 2016 as landfill diversion strategies gather pace over the next three years.

Growth in EfW has primarily been driven by regulations on limited landfilling of municipal solid waste (MSW) and policy incentives on account of lowering carbon emissions.

However, more than three-quarters of 480 EfW plants across Europe are older than 10 years. These will require modernisation and retrofitting to adhere to strict legal requirements, especially of flue gas treatment.

Grate technology is still the most commonly used solution in Europe, but challenges such as overall energy efficiency, flue gas handling and disposal of ash offers potential for alternative technologies.

According to analysts Frost & Sullivan, improving energy efficiencies and lowering air emissions is likely to result in an increased use of process and automation of incineration segment in both new plants and refurbishment of plants.

Due to stricter legal obligations towards reducing emission levels, the air pollution cleaning segment is likely to be the second largest segment till 2016.

Frost & Sullivan’s energy & environment research analyst Monika Chrusciak said that application of thermal treatment technologies can result in operational savings, while maintaining environmental protection standards.

“Modern industry understands the importance of a fully integrated solution comprising of separation, incineration and air pollution cleaning,” she said.

“Incorporating thermal treatment solutions for MSW material can help waste management companies to turn waste material with limited recycling value into a valuable resource. This creates a platform of interesting opportunities for market players.”

In 2012 Europeans generated approximately 265 million tonnes of MSW. With the World Bank predicting that global generation of MSW will rise from the current 1.3bn tonnes per annum to 2.2bn tonnes per annum by 2025, the annual cost of solid waste management is projected to rise from $205bn to $375bn in 2025.

Maxine Perella

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie