Will the Future of Landfills be Dominated by Waste-to-Energy Technologies?

Several countries across the globe are devising ways to approach the subject waste disposal in environmental ways. For instance, EU has implemented a strict regulatory framework pertaining to disposal of waste, which in turn has forced member states to actively take part in incentivizing waste management solutions through recycling facilities.

Q. What is Waste-to-Energy Technology?

A. Waste-to-energy or WTE technologies use municipal solid waste or any waste material to generate heat, electricity, and fuel through several complex conversion methods. Today, municipal waste and other types of waste materials are being considered as potential sources of energy as they contain huge amounts of renewable and biological materials. The considerable amount of municipal solid waste around the world as given the waste-to-energy technologies a new lease of life and the much-needed impetus. Several environmentalists and other players such as Foster Wheeler, ABB, and China Everbright are working towards commercializing these waste materials into a viable fuel source.

Q. What Makes Thermal Technologies Popular than Biological Technologies in WTE Market?

A. The two main technologies currently used for generating energy by using waste materials are biological and thermal. The biological technologies used for turning waste into energy include anaerobic digestion, fermentation, and methane capture. On the other hand, the thermal energy types employed for creating energy from waste are thermal gasification, incineration, and plasma-arc gasification. Out of the two, thermal technologies are popularly used for generating energy through waste as it is comparatively simpler. The only concern looming over the growth of thermal WTE generation is the hazardous impact of flue gases that are a collateral damage of these processes. However, this segment is poised to benefit from desulfurization of flue gas that will curb the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere.


Q. What Will Drive the Global Waste-to-Energy Market?

A. According to the World Bank, the waste generated all over the world is estimated to triple by 2100 to reach 11 million tons per day. In addition to this, the overflowing landfills are also pressurizing several industry players to reduce the amount of waste they create or recycle and reuse it for other purposes. The evolution of waste-to-energy technologies has created feasible opportunities for allowing the constructive use of this waste, which is expected to boost the demand for waste-to-energy technologies across the globe.

Furthermore, the rising population, rampant urbanization, and immeasurable amount of waste being generated are all expected to contribute towards the growth of waste-to-energy technologies market. The need of nations to reduce their carbon footprint and create sustainable energy solutions will also drive this market.

A research report published by Transparency Market Research states that China is leading the global waste-to-energy market, a trend that is helping Asia Pacific region to surge ahead of the others. Researchers are predicting that Asia Pacific region will spearhead the global waste-to-energy technologies market in the coming years, with Europe in tow in the coming years. For instance, Danish firms Gottlieb Paludan Architects and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects have been awarded a project to design waste-to-energy power plant in China’s Shenzhen region. This plant is expected to the largest plant ever as it is proposed to use 5,000 tons of waste every day, which will amount to one third of the total waste created by Shenzhen’s 20 million inhabitants each year.

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