ESG Bears Are In Trash Whilst the Bulls Go Smoke Free

With so many new Incineration plants under development in Europe was landfill really wrong? Maybe it’s time for everyone to take a new look at ESG commitment? Sound environmental decisions made in 2019 is bad news for burning and that’s good news for smoke free

The End of Burning is Nigh

European Union 2030 Emission requirements tend well below Current 500g/MW and so they should if we are to start to combat climate change. Below 500g already most Coal Fired Power Stations are off limits for investors but we seem to be ignoring the fact that so too are Waste to Energy and Biomass Power Stations which deploy incineration.

The notion that somehow growing new biomass justifies the burning of existing biomass for CO2 credits is flawed, its wearing thin, it has little credibility in a future low carbon economy. Investors now look to smokeless technologies for sustainability in 2030 and beyond.

So, little good news ahead for a fledgling waste to energy incineration industry and where from today the vast majority of investors will find little comfort to recoup investment within the next 10 years.

“there is nothing bad about the supply chain for waste to energy that the good thing about the future waste to energy can’t fix”

Good news and much progress in decade since much of the EU municipal solid waste is now segregated. Across the EU MSW is now a potential resource and even basic consumer segregation of waste significantly reduces the cost of waste sorting.

As environmental awareness matures and more households participate in waste sorting commercial potential for recycling and reuse increases, separation of waste at source increases the efficiency of resources deployed in waste sorting and as a result less waste goes to landfill and more valuable materials are recovered. But the majority fraction is still left over mixed plastics, paper packaging, food waste, and textiles and we don’t yet have a universal solution

A Burning Timeline that Just Got Real

No surprise that on the 4th of March 2019 that Germany announced its 10 year plan now included the end of life for its 84 Coal Fired Power Stations and by 2029 incineration of coal will cease.

Germany represents the power house of EU Industry and naturally it needs to take the lead on behalf of the EU. If we are to tackle climate change radical steps are needed and in the shortest possible time and let’s be clear here, emissions are the driver and not coal so Waste to Energy and Biomass Incineration like coal has had its day.

After coal the Elephant in the Room is the existing and upcoming pipeline of Waste to Energy and Biomass Incineration. A responsible EU has seen the incineration ban coming for some time, with so many local authorities reluctant or simply outright refusing new incineration plants

Burning Waste had its day again

History repeats itself, after all landfill replaced hundreds of years of incineration to achieve better air quality society changed to smokeless waste disposal almost exclusively half a century ago.

In modern times however a tolerance for controlled incineration emerged because society and the world became overwhelmed with landfill. Incineration and high temperature Plasma innovations rarely delivered what the developers wrote on the box. Investors lost their money and continue to do so.

Controlled modern Incineration was tolerated alongside landfill the two were supposed to work together to reduce landfill removing the recoverable fraction and to offset CO2 with energy production from waste as an alternative to coal it could be tolerated. .

Waste Solutions before Energy Solutions

The idea of burning wood or cellulose because it captures CO2 as it grows renewably in preference to ancient biomass like coal which is not renewable because it take a millennia or more to occur has less and less credibility with todays clearly troubled world.

CO2 is only part of the burning equation since burning anything produces harmful NOx’s which in turn have a prolific detrimental effect on society in an ever more crowded world. More costly technologies than incineration need be implemented smokeless technologies deploying pyrolysis for dry waste, and digestion for wet waste. These technologies must be dispersed not centralised if embedded CO2 is to be avoided

“Waste to Energy Primarily impacts the Waste problem not the Energy problem”

Learning from Experience and Why The Public Will Not Pay More

There is a lot wrong with the waste to energy business model firstly 90% of waste to energy business plans are flawed they almost always predict a future where waste will increase. When in reality the opposite occurs.

The opposite is well demonstrated in Sweden for example [where there is nowhere to put landfill] waste streams diminish as waste disposal becomes more costly. Road side recycling centres for paper, metals, textiles and plastics are common sight in most Scandinavian communities it was an allergic reaction to paying more for the disposal of a resource society failed to recycle. Local sorting has common place in advanced societies and where the majority of citizens take action to ensure that waste streams are recovered voluntarily.

The fact is responsible consumers acquire less waste and have less to discard in future less will be disgarded because producers have reduced packaging and have become more responsible. Waste to Energy facilities in Sweden today import waste from as far away as Africa to keep public private facilities running to the end of their design life. This is a lesson which is simply ignored elsewhere in the EU no Swedish waste to energy facility imports waste because they are successful reality is they failed. The fact is consumers are not on board with paying a premium for a discarded resource and why should they?

African Impact Investing Created New Dynamics

A new set of dynamics come into play in Africa where society cannot tolerate increases in waste management since the majority of society has no money at all.

Early Impact investor recognise there is no place for end user cost burden technology solutions instead waste is recognised as a resource and it is utilised to serve society as a resource.

In Africa the whole system must deliver true value full life cycle. The success of impact investing in Africa poses the question here in Europe “since waste is recognised as a resource in Africa should consumers actually pay for waste disposal in Europe?”

So Where is the Waste to Energy Bull Market?

Short term investment in Waste to Energy may have already paid back some investors healthy returns but the future is already bearish under the threat of smokeless technologies.

Smokeless pyrolysis gasification technologies are becoming mainstream the rising cost of energy and the demand for clean air together means such installations will become the norm.

A demonstration of ultra low emission energy are emerging with the delivery of third generation waste to energy solutions. Typically disruptive technology rolls out in Small Island Nations, next as responsible Prosumer solutions and lastly as everyday utilities.

Disruption Defined in Third Generation Waste to Energy Solutions

Third Generation Waste to Energy Solutions are profitable because they provide energy on demand solutions which already compete with any other energy on demand solutions including those derived from renewable or fossil fuel solutions.

“ESG out of the box thinking already favours base load not intermittent solutions”

Base Load, third generation biomass and waste to energy solutions like SOLIDEA Group TITAN and ASMARA are modular and constructed in an open plant room format, where they can readily be stripped down, repaired, replaced or even relocated with minimum disruption.

Being modular third generation base load solutions can easily reach utility scale however they can also be deployed in single or multiple installations for Prosumers and Temporaries.

Most important third generation energy solutions can compete in cost with non smokeless installations including all other waste to energy, gas producers and others which are renewable or non renewable, however they are 100% organic, produce energy on demand and are smokeless.

Third Generation Waste to Energy is the future because they provide Polish consumers with a discount

Third Generation Waste to Energy solutions have emerged from a reasonably successful but Bullish Biomass Industry. ASMARA the third generation waste to energy version of TITAN biomass technology is ready to deploy on four sites in Western Poland within the next three years. TITAN Two in Sczeczin will be redesigned as Biomass or Waste to Energy [TASMARA] to meet the current demands in the Baltic Region. Renamed ASMARA One the Sczeczin installation is teaming up with an international Waste Management Company to create a solution to off take Europes Plastic and be ready to take its place to tackle the Ocean Plastics problem.

ASMARA and Off-take Demand

SOLIDEA Group’s Syngas Project develop TITAN and ASMARA in Poland 12 reactors convert organic solid waste into combined heat and power [CHP] unlike most traditional waste to energy and biomass power plants there is no smokestack

Four ASMARA’s on Polands Western flank with Germany creates a demand for more than 2,000 tons of Residual Sorted Waste [RSW] daily. ASMARA is developed with a capability to receive and store up to 3 months RSW at any time pre-processing of RSW as RDF demonstrates a life line for the most competitive Refuse Derived Fuels.

ASMARA is not dependent on RDF [pellets, briquettes etc] but the current EU regulations require it for transportation, the ideology of RDF will no doubt be readdressed in future if EU citizens are to achieve value. ASMARA tackles all of the dry waste digestion takes care of the wet waste, since the residual solids from digestion can be converted to more clean energy in ASMARA both technologies work well together.

ASMARA waste to energy and its partner TITAN biomass power stations produce a constant 20MW of electricity and 30MW of heat on demand, unconverted energy waste or biomass can be stored in reserve until needed. Smoke free technologies which produce energy on demand without the need for batteries are without a doubt sustainable future solutions

About Steve

Over 20 years in Real Estate and Energy Project Development
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