The development of waste-to-energy facilities encounters some problems. One of the biggest among them is the cost of an incineration plant. There are so many fairy tales about this business, so many fantastic technologies offered at very low prices. This creates wrong expectations of clients concerning price level. A client should recognize the average price level in the industry before commencing the project.
We recently showed that there is no other reference point for any waste-to-energy technology except the incineration plant. It is the 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 an incineration plant with a 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 the world top producers, we understand the cost of an incineration plant. We consider that the following independent research describes the capital cost of the waste-to-energy plant properly. You can download its abstract in pdf from our site. The research 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).
Cost of incineration plant by formula
According to the formula, the cost of a 40,000 tpa plant is $41 million, or $1,026 per ton of annual capacity. A 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. Additionally, there is 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 describes the cost of incineration plant relates to municipal solid waste (MSW) to electricity plants. However, it can vary depending on the technology implemented – it could be burning on the grate or the fluidized bed. Hazardous medical and industrial waste processing costs significantly more. They require 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. Many companies making attractive offers, 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.
We unveiled the online service for evaluation of the financial feasibility of a waste-to-energy power plant. If you know the input parameters of your proposed plant, you can request financial modelling by the link below.