Development of waste-to-energy facilities encounters a number of problems, and one of the biggest among them is the price. There are so many fairy tales about this business, so many fantastic technologies offered at very low prices, that it creates wrong expectations of clients concerning price level. A client should recognize average price level in industry before commencing the project.
Recently, we showed that there is no other reference point for any waste-to-energy technology except incineration plant, since it is most prevalent and approved thermal treatment technology in the world so far, do you like it or not. Every newly developed facility should be compared with price of incineration plant with similar capacity. But what is the price level of incineration and how does it change with capacity?
Basing on our construction experience and contacts with world top producers, we consider that price of incineration plant is well described by quite recent independent research, which abstract can also be downloaded in pdf from our site. It contains the following empiric formula:
I = 2.3507×C0.7753,
where I is the investment cost in million dollars and C is the plant capacity (1000 metric tons of waste/year).
According to the formula, cost of 40,000 tpa plant is $41 mio, or $1,026 per ton of annual capacity. Medium-sized 250,000 tpa plant should cost $169 mio, or $680 per ton of annual capacity. These numbers give us first estimation of how much waste-to-energy is, and, what is more important, quite adequate dependence of CAPEX per ton of annual capacity on the capacity by itself (blue curve).
Here is the simple calculator allowing to get values for a certain annual capacity.
We should understand that the formula discussed relates to municipal solid waste (MSW) to electricity plants and can vary depending on the technology implemented – it could be burning on grate or on fluidized bed. Hazardous medical and industrial waste processing costs significantly more, requires rotary kiln technology for big volumes and even more sophisticated flue gas cleaning systems.
There is a lot of talking on the market concerning the price of waste-to-energy facilities, and a number of companies making an attractive offers, but they all have one problem – nothing works. Client should ask low-cost bidders to show what do they have under commercial operation. And upon the predictable answer, return to commercially approved technologies. No matter what is it: pyrolysis, gasification, incineration or plasma treatment – price deviation from the above will be no more than +-50%.
It is the market. No miracles here.
Update: We unveiled the online service for evaluation of financial feasibility of a waste-to-energy power plant. If you know input parameters of your proposed plant, you can request finacial modelling by the link below.