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Global survey reveals confident energy recovery markets

European analyst firm ecoprog's 2015 Waste to Energy survey has found strong global confidence - particularly in Europe.

The results comes via the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants (CEWEP) - which conducted its 2015 energy recovery survey to gauge the expectations and outlook of both operators and industrial providers.

Contracted to analyst firm ecoprog GmbH, the survey covered 500 operators and 400 plant manufacturers and suppliers in energy recovery worldwide.

Both and operators and industry were asked to gauge their business situation, expectations, plant utilisation, demand, employment levels, gate fees and also revise the EU waste policy.

It showed that the business climate in the energy recovery industry is as good as it has been since the survey was first conducted in 2012.

Regulation and generation driving European markets

The survey coincided with the renegotiation of the current European Legislation in regards recycling targets.

Even though the EU Commission withdrew its draft revision in December 2014, almost 20% of operators expect the new draft to result in stricter targets.

One of the components of the revision was to ban landfilling of untreated municipal waste by 2030. Broadly, regulation in Europe is creating optimism.

Europe landfills approximately 74 million tonnes of municipal waste alone.

By comparison, it’s estimated that Australia generates approximately 14 million tonnes of MSW per year, making the Europe market around 10 times bigger than the Australian market.

With increase in waste demand, 38% of operators and 50% of industrial energy recovery companies anticipate business improvement in the next 12 months.

Critically, plant operators also anticipated higher gate fees, with 41% expecting fees to increase.

Sweden (population 10 million) is well known internationally for sending less than 1% of its total waste materials to landfill.

International confidence bodes well for Australian markets

The confidence in European energy recovery markets is a good sign for local players, with the Australian market substantially less developed.

Australia's two largest proposals are Phoenix Energy’s plant in Kwinana, WA and Dial-a-Dump Industries (DADI) plant in Sydney’s Eastern Creek.

DADI’s Eastern Creek proposal has the capacity to accept up to 1.2 million tonnes per year. The Kwinana plant is estimated to accept 400,000 tonnes of material from municipal kerbside.

An artist's impression of DADI's completed TNG facility.

Industry remains unsure about fuel manufacture

European industry remains uncertain when questioned about the manufacture of fuel from residual waste technology.

According to the survey, many plant operators remain sceptical about the technology and believe it won’t be competitive in the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, Industry remains cautious, with 50% of company executives believing they’re unable to properly assess the technology.

However, global giants such as Suez Environnement has embraced the technology as a core part of their global strategy. This includes producing 120,000–160,000 tonnes per year at its AART plant in Wingfield, South Australia.

Op Ed: Optimism in the developed European market bodes well for the Australian energy recovery infrastructure providers.

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References: CEWEP Industry Barometer, Waste-to-Energy 2015