According to a survey from legal firm Norton Rose, 58% of 60 senior waste executives interviewed felt there was now a viable market in the UK for solid recovered fuel (SRF) and refuse derived fuel (RDF). This is up from 46% in the previous edition of the same survey in 2009.

Despite this confidence, there remains a significant minority of industry insiders who believe the market is still to settle on the most bankable technologies to create energy or fuel from waste.

The two technologies which currently dominate the market are energy-from-waste (EfW) and mechanical biological treatment (MBT). However 43% of respondents felt these two technologies are yet to prove themselves as the most viable for investment.

Other findings revealed that over a quarter (28%) of respondents felt the UK’s renewable energy targets would not encourage merchant schemes, and nearly three quarters (74%) felt that there were already enough renewable initiatives in the UK waste sector.

Over three quarters (78%) felt there were greater opportunities for merchant waste schemes in the UK than abroad, while 72% felt current policy wasn’t doing enough to support merchant waste schemes. In addition, over two-thirds (67%) felt that average merchant gate fees at residual waste treatment facilities would be £80 or more in five years’ time.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Norton Rose partner Mark Berry said:

“For this market to flourish in the UK, we need to see proven, commercially viable, politically palatable technologies to turn significant amounts of waste into fuel or energy.

“At the moment, EfW and MBT are probably the front runners for this, but they still have their problems, and nearly half of our respondents remained unconvinced.”

The results of The future of waste: A continuing opportunity survey can be found here 

Maxine Perella

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