Japan dominated over 60% of the Asia-Pacific industry for Waste-to-Energy (WtE) incineration in 2022, and the country’s waste-to-energy market is expected to register a CAGR of more than 12% during the forecast period. Factors, such as economic development, industrialization, and increasing population levels in Japan, problems related to the expanded consumption and depletion of resources, and the increased generation of waste and increasing focus on non-fossil fuel sources of energy have been driving the adoption of the waste-to-energy market in the country. However, the market studied has been restrained by the increasing emission of harmful gases and the expensive nature of incinerators, particularly as energy prices decline, and several plants have been unable to cover operating costs.
Thermal technology is expected to dominate the waste-to-energy market, owing to the increasing development in the incineration and gasification technologies, as well as the increasing amount of waste generated.
The emerging waste-to-energy technologies, such as stoker furnace technologies, which have been more efficient in terms of electricity generation, with additional benefits of no emission discharge and effluence problems at plant sites, are expected to create significant opportunities for the market players, over the coming years.
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Key Market Trends
Thermal Based Waste to Energy Conversion to Dominate the Market
The number of waste incineration plants has been witnessing significant growth over the years, due to the substantial increase in waste generation and as landfills exceeded capacity.
Japan recycles 84% of its plastic waste, and an estimated 60% of this plastic waste goes through thermal recycling, i.e., incineration. As of 2019, Japan has more than 1000 incinerators, around 380 of which are waste-to-energy plants.
In Tokyo, there were 21 high-tech incineration facilities within its 23 wards, as of May 2018. These facilities have undergone a major modernization program to improve their environmental performance, with emissions in line to protect human health and the environment.
As of 2018, the electricity generated from industrial waste (17248 GWh) was comparatively higher than that of electricity generated from municipal waste (1719 GWh). Thus, making industrial waste much more useful to produce energy out of it.
The Reduction of Harmful Emissions to Support the Market
The incineration plants for solid waste generate harmful emissions, like dioxins, carbon dioxide, sulfur oxide, and nitrogen oxide. Technologies related to high-efficiency power generation and safe operation, such as automatic incineration devices and automatic cranes, have been developed and used.
The stocker furnace technology is low-air incineration that aims for high-efficiency power generation, reduced harmful emissions, removal of acidic gas, and recycling of incinerated ash. The technologies applied to reduce the generation of dioxin are exhaust cooling, bag filters, and activated coal that absorbs and eliminates dioxin.
The conventional stoker furnace’s highly efficient technology enables electrical generation from recovered heat waste and makes it an effective measure against greenhouse emissions.
According to the BP statistics, the overall carbon dioxide emissions in Japan had reduced to reach 1148.4 million metric ton of carbon dioxide in 2018.
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