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Cost of incineration plant

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 the average price level in the 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 the 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 million, or $1,026 per ton of annual capacity. Medium-sized 250,000 tpa plant should cost $169 million, or $680 per ton of annual capacity. These numbers give us the 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).

USD million
Per annual ton

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 the grate or on the 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 offer, but they all have one problem – nothing works. The 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 the financial feasibility of a waste-to-energy power plant. If you know input parameters of your proposed plant, you can request financial modelling by the link below.

Calculate Your Plant

34 Responses to “Cost of incineration plant”

By mohamed - 18 January 2017 - Reply

what is the exact figure for the Encore advanced pyrolysis tech plant? what is the most inexpensive project/ plant?

By WTE A - 18 January 2017 - Reply

In waste-to-energy sector, the less expensive technology (per ton of annual capacity) is incineration, due to a huge number of installations and long history. There are a number of producers, European are most reputable and more expensive. Some Chinese producers offer today relatively cheaper incineration equipment conforming, however, to all modern ecological standards.

Encore technology is mostly for tires, rubber, plastic, sludge etc. and, as other pyrolysis equipment, it is a bit more expensive than incineration.

Actual prices we disclosure only for certain solid project upon signing of NDNCA.

By Luis Hernández - 2 April 2017 - Reply

Which are the best cost-benefit European brand?

By WTE A - 4 April 2017 - Reply

All European brands are on more or less same price level. The final cost of such a complicated facility as waste-to-energy plant depends on many factors:

– location country
– type of incineration technology selected
– usage of periperal equipment such as generators, boilers, etc. by local suppliers
– architectural solutions
– waste composition and moisture, and so on.

So there is no simple answer to your question. Final total cost of the plant can be properly estimated only during the feasibility study process.

By Melifonwu Arinze - 21 April 2017 - Reply

Good day, I want to invite a Waste to Energy company to come invest in my community that boasts over 3million homes, offices and large markets with a lot of unused waste lying everywhere. I like the incinerator technology as it would get rid of the excess waste. Please, what Chinese Producers would you advise I contact for that. Thanks

By WTE A - 29 April 2017 - Reply

We are ready to support you on the basis of paid consulting or full development cycle. Please fill out Partner Questionnaire Form on out site https://wteinternational.com/development/partner-questionnaire/ and we will return with our standard NDNCA.

By Gary - 9 February 2018 - Reply

Hello. I tried to compute investment cost manually using the provided formulae (for a 100,000 tpa plant). I’m getting a pretty different cost. Are there additional variables factored in?

By WTE A - 10 February 2018 - Reply

Hello. First of all, you can use our calculator on the right. If you want to calculate manually for 100,000 tpa plant, then please take into account that C=100 (capacity in 1000 metric tons of waste/year). So, formula is

I = 2.3507×100^0.7753

I = 83.5 (in million USD)

So, CAPEX of a typical 100,000 tpa MSW incineration plant is 83.5 million USD.

You can request calculation of the financial model of your plant online: https://wteinternational.com/development/financial-model/waste-to-energy-model/

or hire us for consulting, development of feasibility study, construction supervision, etc.

By Prof. Issam A. al-Khatib - 6 March 2018 - Reply

I need a Waste to energy incineration plant with an annual capacity of 127,750 tons

What is the costs of establishing such a plant?

By WTE A - 6 March 2018 - Reply

You can use our calculator. Put into it 127750 and you will have USD 101 million.

By Oba Fortune Ojewe - 24 June 2018 - Reply

Hi, does this your formula give the price of the entire components of the Integrated Waste Management system or only the incinerator compotent.

By WTE A - 25 June 2018 - Reply

This is the cost of incinerator plant, including all its infrastructure: presorting facility, incineration, flue gas cleaning system, energy generation, buildings etc.

Integrated Waste Management system for a city includes waste collection, logistics, sorting, incineration plant, landfilling. It is a bigger system. Main cost in it has, however, incineration plant.

[…] cost of operating an environmentally efficient incinerator is difficult to estimate, but is easily more expensive than that of an American landfill or expense associated with recycling – that’s why it’s the […]

[…] cost of operating an environmentally efficient incinerator is difficult to estimate, but is easily more expensive than that of an American landfill or expense associated with recycling – that’s why it’s the […]

By YUNGREN TAN - 20 December 2018 - Reply

HI, Is there a rule of thumb on the ration of operation cost and maintenance cost over construction cost? For example WTE plant of 1200t/d

By WTE A - 23 December 2018 - Reply

Usually annual operating and maintenance cost of the incineration plant is 5-7% of total construction cost..

By Arslan - 5 September 2019 - Reply

i need an estimation of Incineration plant to process 200000 tpa of MSW, for energy generation. It will be more helpful if this cost is properly breaked-down into all components of, CAPEX & OPEX.


By WTE A - 6 September 2019 - Reply

Dear Mr Arslan,

You can use calculator in this post to get first estimation of total cost. Economy efficiency calculations can be ordered for EUR 599 on our page https://wteinternational.com/development/financial-model/waste-to-energy-model/.

Detailed cost breakdown for the plant is a part of feasibility study, which we can perform on a contract basis.

By kabir - 15 September 2019 - Reply

I am not sure I’m getting the calculation right but I want just a 1 ton/hour but I got just about $600k.

Could you point to a company which makes that capacity?

By WTE A - 20 September 2019 - Reply

1 ton per hour means some 8,000 ton per year. Calculator above will show 12 million USD,

As it is said in the article, for such small capacities, price per ton raises rapidly. That is why we have such a big number.

The formula discussed works well for capacities starting from 50,000 tpa, as it covers market of big incinerators.

If you want incinerator for 1 ton per hour, we can provide it for you. Please fill out the form https://wteinternational.com/development/project-questionnaire/ or just describe your project details by email to info@wteinternational.com

Thank you.

By faezeh - 26 September 2019 - Reply

How can i find data that related to capital cost and maintenance cost of plastic incineration ?

By WTE A - 26 October 2019 - Reply

Data on capital cost (CAPEX) is here in the calculator. Maintenance cost is approximately 5-10% from CAPEX annually. You can request calculation of the plant on the Waste-to-Energy Model page.

By Rahaf Muteb Aljameeli - 18 April 2020 - Reply

i have a research about MSW and i want to know more about waste to energyy,, what is the size of one incineration plant? like dimensions? if there are many types perhaps could u tell me the average? because im designing a waste to energy facility as a task since im an engineering student.. please help me 🙂

By WTE A - 28 June 2020 - Reply

Very roughly typical land needed is 2 ha per each 100,000 ton of annual capacity.

By Enoch Wangwe - 16 May 2020 - Reply

I would like to know what it would cost to set up a waste to energy incineration plant with capacity of 100 tpd combustion, how many mWh such an undertaking would generate and how long it would take to construct.

By WTE A - 28 June 2020 - Reply

It highly depends on waste composition and moisture. For 100 tpd plant (which is very small size of the plant), typical electricity production could be 1.5 MW.

By OBJ - 27 May 2020 - Reply

The calculator formula seems to assume the incinerator plant will have a Power generation plant attached to it. How is the formula affected if the plant is just for the Incinerator WITHOUT the electricity generation component

By WTE A - 28 June 2020 - Reply

What is the use of just incineration? How to return investments?

By Nathan Coffee - 11 February 2021 - Reply


Thanks for all the useful information and the useful Cost Calculator (not sure why other comments didn’t just use it). Questions are as follows:

Is the cost from the calculator a total project (inclusive of design, CA, PM, etc.) or just a construction cost?

I noticed that the web page is from 2015 so is the cost calculator generating 2015 costs that I should escalate to my actual construction date? Please define year of costs.


By WTE A - 11 February 2021 - Reply

Hello Mr Coffee,

Thank you for your comment.

Cost calculator and formula estimate the total world-average turn-key cost of the plant (CAPEX).

From 2015, price estimation has not changed. Whilst the costs of materials and equipment escalate due to inflation, the total cost of the technology goes down due to mass production. So, estimations are still actual.

And we as WTEI can construct the plant significantly cheaper (as we have the real practical experience and good knowledge of the market).

By Mohammed Majid - 16 February 2021 - Reply

I have received a turnkey offer of 234 million USD to build a 2600 ton/day WTE plant generating around 70 MW , it looks too good to be true according to your figures , any comments ?


Mohammed Majid

By WTE A - 16 February 2021 - Reply

Hi Mohammed,

It depends on several factors: the strength of the EPC provider, location, waste quality. Cost estimation provided here in the article is the world average. We can construct plants significantly cheaper due to deep knowledge of the market and experience.

Not to disclose sensitive information, let us continue this dialogue via email. We will write to you and share some thoughts privately.

Best regards,
WTEI team.

By jodi - 25 February 2021 - Reply

1 – Do the costs above include for design fees and owner delivery / project management fees, statutory approval fees and the like, owners development contingency etc. or are they construction costs only?

– EG are the cost below deemed to be ‘EPC turnkey’ costs or do additioanl costs need to be added when doing high level calcs?

– Which location are the above costs based on? Ex US?

Thank you

By WTE A - 10 March 2021 - Reply

Hello Jodi,

The costs above show the plant CAPEX: i.e., turn-key price.

Location does not affect costs too much, you can consider costs as a world-average.

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