Waste-to-energy has "immense potential" in GCC

Frost & Sullivan study estimates WTE to produce 300MW-500MW by 2020

Photo used for illustrative purposes only
Photo used for illustrative purposes only

With the total amount of waste in the GCC expected to reach 130mn tonnes in 2014, a new study by Frost & Sullivan suggests that the waste management market in the region should invest more in waste-to-energy (WTE) solutions for the problem, given that a well-managed mechanism could help in reducing up to 90% of the waste going to landfill.

WTE is currently only an emerging market in the GCC, with only 0.25-0.3 TWh of energy being produced from waste. But the high waste generation per capita and the high population growth rate in the region is spurring the growth of this industry, with Kumar Ramesh, industry manager, environment and building technologies practice, Middle East and North Africa, Frost & Sullivan, saying that it has “immense potential” in the region.

“The GCC countries' policies, interests in looking towards renewable energy, and reducing dependence on fossil fuel, along with constant public pressure and urbanisation, are driving the WTE market, which has witnessed 20-25% growth in the past three years,” Ramesh said.

“With more projects on the anvil, and the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar announcing multi-billion dollar investment plans towards improving waste management services, this growth trend is likely to attract more WTE technology providers to the region,” he added.

Based on government reports and announcements of upcoming projects, Frost & Sullivan estimates that the WTE projects in the GCC will produce between 300 MW-500 MW of power by 2020. This is approximately 10 times the current WTE production estimates.

Qatar is the first GCC country to implement WTE on a large scale, with its domestic solid waste management centre (DSWMC) successfully deploying a WTE plant with a capacity to generate 50 MW of electricity.

While Saudi Arabia aims to achieve 3GW of WTE by 2032, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) has announced plans to convert municipal WTE and produce 100 MW of electricity.

The WTE target capacity of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi is followed by Kuwait, where the Kuwait Partnerships Technical Bureau, in collaboration with Kuwait Municipality, has invited interested international and regional companies to develop a 3000 tonnes per day (TPD) of solid WTE project facility in the country’s Kabd area.

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