Waste to energy (WTE) is the process of utilizing waste to generate energy or electricity. Various technologies are used to generate energy from waste source such as, municipal domestic waste. Energy generated from the process can be in form of electricity, fuel or heat. The WTE management is considered as a vital part of the waste disposal infrastructure of any nation as it also comes under renewable energy sources. Waste to energy market refers to electricity generated with utilization of waste resources.
Rapid change in consumption pattern and lifestyle of the population, along with migration of people towards urban areas are triggering urban waste accumulation, hence demanding a better infrastructure for its safe disposal and reuse. Various corporate or energy producing companies have ventured into waste to energy market by deploying their facilities. Types of waste that can be used in the waste to energy market include utilization of semi-solid waste discharged from the industrial plants, liquid waste like domestic sewage and gaseous waste produced in refinery.
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Waste to energy market can be segmented on the basis of technology used, viz. thermal and biological. Thermal technology can be further bifurcated on the basis of oxygen used in the process, combustion (excess oxygen), gasification (partial oxygen) and pyrolysis (no oxygen). Biological process can be used in a process where anaerobic decomposition of the solid waste is required. In Asia pacific, incineration is the most commonly used technology in waste to energy market. Incineration cuts the cost required in the transportation of waste to landfills. There has been a noticeable rise in the production of industrial and municipal waste, demanding innovation in existing waste to energy management technologies.
Necessity to maintain balance between the three ‘E’s that is, saving the Environment, Economic development and Energy independence can clearly explain the need of waste management thus driving growth in waste to energy market. Companies are adopting aforementioned technologies to reduce discharge of waste material and generate confined energy in parallel. For instance, General Motors through its renaissance center and landfill-free sites has been able to eliminate over 10 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions in 2013.Waste to energy management supports nation to conserve energy resources and earn carbon credits, which can be further used to gain profit via carbon credit trading. Additionally, converting a waste into a beneficial product will lead to an economic development of a country by turning a liability into an asset. China is considered as one of the forerunners in waste to energy market.
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Asia pacific waste to energy market is expected to grow two folds by 2020 with promising CAGR. Japan primarily dominates waste to energy market in Asia pacific, owing to its increasing waste to energy technology adoption. Rapid growth of residential and industrial wastes in China and India, and supports by government to endorse sustainable energy generation are anticipated to drive the regional waste to energy market.
Rapid rise in industrial and domestic wastes are provoking governments across the region to support energy production from waste, positively impacting the growth of waste to energy market. Also strong shift towards the renewable resources from coal, decreasing carbon footprints is driving the waste to energy market. Rise in economic development is anticipated to lead to the increase in the municipal domestic waste and hence will drive the demand of waste to energy market. Various developing nations have implemented landfills, due to its less implementation cost. This can be an inhibitor for waste to energy market, as methane gas is emitted from the landfill. Industries playing an active role in the economic development of the nation are energetically using WTE technologies.
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Regional key players in waste to energy market include The Babcock & Wilcox Company, China Everbrite International Limited, Xcel Energy, Suez Environment S.A, Waste Management Inc., C&G Environmental Protection Holdings Ltd., Veolia Environment and Foster Wheeler AG. Waste to energy market is expected to grow significantly in Asia pacific region. India, China and Japan will be the boon for the growth of the nation in the forecasted year duration.