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Biological waste-to-energy demand growing

Demand for biological waste-to-energy plants is growing and the market is becoming more competitive driven by government regulation and support according to analyst Frost & Sullivan.

Frost & Sullivan says the market for biological waste-to-energy plants in Europe is expected to reach US$3.6 billion in 2016 under an optimistic scenario.

The German market was worth US$998.3 million in 2009 and represented 76.8% of the European market. The market in Germany has grown exponentially over the last 10 years driven by government policies and a supportive banking sector. The same policies are being introduced in other European countries, such as Italy, and we can expect strong growth in these markets over the next 5-10 years, the analyst predicts.

In other areas of the world the biological waste-to-energy market is an embryonic stage. Frost & Sullivan Senior Analyst Nuno Oscar Branco says: "In the Asian, North, and South American regions the market remains underdeveloped, for three main reasons: first, governments in these regions have yet to introduce biogas or green energy policies; second, quantity, availability, quality and management of feedstock are not appropriate for investments or long term growth of this market; and finally the biogas industry, mostly European and German based, is not committing resources to develop these markets".

However, the situation is changing in some countries or municipalities where there have been improvements in the business environment for biological waste-to-energy.

In the USA for example, the Federal Government launched programme AgSTAR that "encourages the use of methane recovery (biogas) technologies (...) reduce methane emissions while achieving other environmental benefits" and in India, the Punjab government, is promoting the construction of modern biological waste-to-energy plants to supply electricity to the state.

"These two examples are evidence to the type of projects likely to take place across the world over the next decades", says Branco.

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The market potential for biogas generated by anaerobic digestion in a biological waste-to-energy plant is very high and market growth in some countries of Europe, such as Italy or Czech Republic; North and South America, such as Brazil, USA, Canada; and the Asia Pacific region, such as India and Australia, can be exponential.

Companies operating or investing in this industry should weight the risk of missing the expected growth in demand in these countries and draw plans for international expansion and investments, says Frost & Sullivan.

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