As the global population continues to grow, so does the need to find innovative, sustainable and lucrative ways to manage the waste produced by the expanding population. By embracing the waste-to-energy (WTE) industry governments are not only creating opportunities to repurpose solid waste, they are also supporting greenhouse gas emission reduction initiatives that are proving to be connected to big financial returns.
Energy Digital points out that many European nations have embraced the waste to energy market to help them reach their goal of obtaining at least 20 percent of their required energy from renewable sources (as set out in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.) Viewed as a more environmentally based approach to waste management, the European WTE industry employs various methods of thermal-based technologies.
Currently expected to reach a value of over $30 billion by 2023, the energy from waste market is not only sustainable but in some instances, is being used to provide direct financial savings to the general population. An example of this was discussed by Lassi Kortelainen, district heating service director of the community of Vantaa, Finland in a recent article published by Energy Digital. “We were able to offer basic district heating to our customers in November and December free of charge. Overall, we’ve reached a ten percent reduction in energy charges.”
Global Market Insights, Inc. suggests that some of the future opportunities available to the waste-to-management industry will involve more expensive and less popular methods of thermal technology e.g. pyrolysis, gasification and plasma arc gasification. While currently requiring higher financial investments at the outset, these technologies are better for the environment as they produce lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions. To obtain the money required for the development and implementation of the energy from waste industry infrastructure, Public Private Partnerships and other funding options are being employed by governments around the world.
Scientists, business people and everyday citizens are actively working to develop, implement and sustain greenhouse gas reducing initiatives in an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change. While there are some hurdles to overcome, the future of the waste-to-energy industry looks bright due to the clear financial and environmental benefits, along with the growing global acceptance and enthusiasm of the technology.