Global AD/Biogas

Anaerobic digestion/biogas is one area where we see a steady level of ongoing investment. These projects tend not to be very large in comparison with other areas of the waste industry, but represent a specialist and high tech niche within it. One advantage of AD/biogas projects is they are typically small and self-contained, and therefore quick to get up and running in comparison with other areas of the waste industry. For the projects in our database ,the average time to become operational is around 15 months.

Over the past year, AcuComm has reported on 151 such projects across the world. These have an average value of US$25 million, and an average throughput of 264 tonnes per day. Average power generation is 4 MW. Again, this is small when compared with the general waste-to-energy industry, but such localised generation is valuable to the farm or industrial site where it is based, either for re-use on-site or for being sold to the local electricity grid. Farm waste is the biggest area for investment, followed by sewage/wastewater projects.

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Investment is dominated by the Americas (principally the US) and Europe. These two regions account for nearly 90% of projects by value over the past year. Leading European countries for AD/biogas investment are the UK, Italy, Denmark, France and Ireland. Asia appears notably under-developed with only around 5% of the value.

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European companies predominate in terms of equipment supply and engineering services. The leading firm, in terms of the number of projects involved with, is Hitachi Zosen Inova, the Switzerland-based European subsidiary of Japan’s Hitachi Zosen. In second place is HoSt, based in the Netherlands. Other leading European companies include BioGTS (Finland), EnviTec Biogas (Germany) and Malmberg Gruppen (Sweden). The leading non-European company is Anaergia, based in Canada.

AcuComm adds more AD/biogas projects to its database each week. Check out the full latest information here.


Germany  – Construction of a sorting and recycling plant.

Operations start at SUEZ’s Ölbronn facility.
SUEZ has begun operations at its state-of-the-art sorting plant in Ölbronn, which according to the company, is Europe’s most modern sorting plant for light packaging. The project involved an investment of more than €30 million. The plant has a capacity of more than 100,000 tonnes per year.

Ghana – Construction of a waste-to-energy plant.

Development of a 100,000 tpa waste-to-energy facility in Accra.
Renergenc is planning to construct a €30.5 million waste-to-energy and recycling facility in Ablekuma-Joma, the Ga Central Municipality of Greater Accra. Renergenc has told AcuComm that the plant will process 100,000 tonnes per year of municipal solid waste. The company is currently obtaining the final licences to allow construction to start. The plant is due to be commissioned in 2021.

The persistence of landfill.

Amid all the talk of innovative recycling and waste sorting technologies, one fact can get lost; most of the world still disposes of most of its waste through landfill. And we’re not just talking about the developing world. In 2015, the latest year for which data is available, the USA sent 52.5% of its municipal solid waste to landfill, equal to 137.7 million tonnes. The amount landfilled rose slightly in 2015, from 136.2 million tonnes in 2014. The rate of recycling has barely changed since 2010, at around 26% of the total, while waste-to-energy is below 13%.

There’s a lot of investment in landfill. AcuComm currently has 344 active projects in the category, worth a total of US$6.6 billion, or US$21 million each on average. What landfill investments are there? Five main categories show up:

  • Typically the upgrading of unregulated dumping grounds to meet current environmental standards. This tends to be a major area of activity in developing countries, and is often a component of development project ativity funded by external agencies.
  • Straightforward expanding of existing landfill to accommodate extra waste.
  • Specialist waste. Building of discrete capability to handle waste types that are best landfilled; such as hazardous, chemical or other forms of industrial waste.
  • Landfill gas. Installation or expansion of gas engines in order to generate electricity.
  • Infrequently, work done to restore a closed landfill to a ‘greener’ use, such as parkland.

The majority deal either with modernisation/expansion of MSW landfill, or addition of gas facilities at existing sites. These account for 84% of the total landfill projects in the AcuComm database.

AC wk 16 pie


Where is the investment going? As might be expected, the USA figures strongly. For general MSW landfill projects, the USA accounts for 34 projects with an estimated total investment of US$587 million. This is equal to US$17 million on average and 22% of the total. For landfill gas projects, the preponderance of the USA is far greater; 71 projects, with an estimated US$1,061 million, equal to US$15 million on average and 62% of the total.

Other countries to feature heavily are Australia, Brazil, Canada, India and Russia. One thing all these countries share with the USA is vast land areas and generally low population densities. All things being equal, its far easier to live with landfill if there is plenty of room for it, away from anyone who might complain about the perceived inconvenience. Environmental pressures and tax incentives may be reducing the use of landfill in Europe, but for much of the wider world it remains the principal – and if properly managed the most credible – means of waste disposal.



Réunion – Waste Management Complex.

CNIM to head development consortium.
CNIM has been selected by ILEVA to head a consortium to develop a waste management complex which will treat 60% of the island’s waste and produce renewable electricity for more than 10,000 households. Commissioning is due by the end of 2022.

Brazil – Development of a corn-based ethanol production plant.

KATZEN International to design R$800 million facility.
KATZEN International has signed an agreement for the design of a corn-based ethanol production plant that will be located in Nova Mutum, Mato Grosso region. O + Participações has also signed an agreement with INPASA for the construction of the plant. Groundbreaking for the new facility began at the site during April and it is expected to start operations in the second half of 2020. The Ethanol SA Bioenergia plant will produce a minimum of 800,000 litres per day of fuel ethanol.

Fast Growth, Rising Waste Investment

Waste investments can be found in all sorts of places you might not expect. While the bulk of attention naturally focuses on the major developed economies, it may pay to glance occasionally elsewhere. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently released its latest economic GDP forecasts. The top fastest-growing countries for the 2019-2024 period are listed in the chart below, ranked by the value of new waste sector investment, as reported in the AcuComm database.

Almost all of these countries are classed as developing economies, with some still at a very low level of economic development. It’s only natural that these should register the highest growth levels. What’s perhaps more surprising is the amount of waste and related investment there is. Out of the top 25 countries, 17 have at least one project either in the planning or construction stage. There are 566 in total, valued at US$48.1 billion; a considerable sum of money.

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China dominates the list with US$34.0 billion, around 71% of the value. While China’s GDP growth is slowing a little, the waste management sector remains huge, both in terms of its current size and potential. India, in second place, is faster-growing but at a lower level of development. Nevertheless, new waste projects in India are estimated at US$6.2 billion. Other countries where AcuComm lists new investments over US$500 million are the Philippines, Vietnam, Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda and Ivory Coast.

There’s activity further down the list too. One recent example is Bhutan, where a comprehensive clinical waste programme was announced in January 2019, supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Another is Uganda, where an anaerobic digestion plant at a sewage facility in Kampala neared completion in December 2018. Projects like this are not particularly large, but all need construction/engineering expertise and equipment, all of which will need to be imported.

Projects in developing countries often involve external funding agencies, such as the aforementioned ADB or its compatriot the African Development Bank (AfDB). The European Union is involved through a number of bodies, principally the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB is generally, though not exclusively, active in supporting projects in the less-well-off parts of Europe, whether in or out of the European Union. Recent part-funded projects include the establishment of new WtE, landfill and recycling facilities in Serbia, modern landfill in Armenia, and improvement of landfill and waste management expertise in Kyrgyzstan. You can see the full list here.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is an even bigger lender. AcuComm lists around 100 projects with EBRD involvement. It is not an EU agency, although it sometimes works in tandem with the EIB. It tends to concentrate on supporting projects in eastern Europe and the former USSR, often in countries or regions with little prior experience of modern waste management.

Working in developing countries attracts risk, of course, and it is likely that not all the projects in the table above will come to fruition. Reliable funding is an issue, but there are challenges to be overcome even when cash is provided by an external donor. Bureaucracy is one, when dealing with funding agencies and local government agencies alike. Developing countries are less likely to have had time to establish the management structures and experience needed to progress a major project, and indeed strengthening such capacity is often a key element of donor-funded projects. A country’s climate or power/water infrastructure may present challenges not found in western Europe or north America. Finally, there can be political difficulties regarding the sustainability or even the desirability of major investments in developing countries.

And yet… for all that, US$48.1 billion is a lot of money. It’s a sign that attention is being paid to global opportunities, as countries grow wealthier, and in need of – and able to afford – modern waste infrastructure.

Currently Trending: Ethanol, MBT and Plastic Recycling facilities.

US$2,799 million worth of projects were covered by our researchers last week, including 19 new projects and 27 updates.

The top waste trends included:

Click on the above trends to access a real-time project search in the AcuComm database.


Canada  – Organic waste treatment centres and biogas facility.

SUEZ selected for Saint-Laurent facility.
Ville de Montreal is planning to carry out a project to create organic waste treatment centres (OWTC) in Greater Montréal including the construction of two composting centres, two biogas facilities and a pilot pre-treatment centre. On 17th April 2019, SUEZ reported that the City has selected it to design, build and operate the first OWTC in Saint-Laurent that can process up to 50,000 tonnes of organic material each year.

Egypt – Waste-to-RDF facility.

Development of a 400,000 tpa waste-to-RDF facility.
Geocycle Egypt Company, a member of Lafarge Holcim group, has officially opened a facility in Ain Sokhna, Suez governorate, that converts non-hazardous waste into high-quality refuse-derived fuel. It has a capacity to produce 400,000 tonnes annually of alternative fuel. According to the company, the facility is the largest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The total cost of the project amounted to E£200 million.

#Editor’sPick – WtE Facilities

Russia – WtE Plants

Construction of four WtE plants

Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) and PJSC ZiO-Podolsk have signed an agreement which will see them construct four waste-to-energy (WtE) plants in Moscow.

It is understood that HZI will be taking on the supply of technology and PJSC ZiO-Podolsk will be delivering manufacturing services for the power island equipment.

Catch up on the latest from this project.

UK – WtE Facility

Construction of a 350,000 tpa WtE facility

Fortum Glasgow, a joint venture between Fortum Oyj and Verus Energy, has acquired the South Clyde Energy Centre. The site has planning permission for a 350,000 tpa capacity WtE plant, which was originally granted consent back in 2012.

The facility will divert waste from landfill and process it to generate electricity and heat. Work could start as early as 2020 if plans go ahead.

Find out more about this project.

#Editor’sPick – AD & Biogas Plants

US – AD Facility

Development of a dairy biogas project

Brightmark Energy has revealed that it has launched its biogas project in Yakima County, WA, that will convert dairy waste into renewable natural gas (RNG) and other products.

The anaerobic digestion facility will process up to 150,000 gallons of manure, producing 160,000 MMBtu of RNG that will be cleaned, upgraded and compressed before being injected into the nearby Williams NW gas transmission line for sale as fuel.

The project has been valued at US$20 million and is just one of a number of developments that Brightmark is undertaking across the country.

See the full details.

Denmark – Biogas Plant

Construction of a biogas plant with 14 digesters

On 1st April, work officially commenced on the construction of a new biogas plant in Højslev. The facility will feature 14 of Stallkamp’s digesters which will treat around 400,000 tonnes of agricultural, animal and food waste each year, though its maximum capacity is 600,000 tonnes.

Construction work is expected to be completed later this year, with gas injection due to start by December.

Find out more about this project.

Currently Trending: Biogas, Recycling & Biomass Facilities

US$2,521 million worth of projects were covered by our researchers last week, including 22 new additions and 24 updates.

The top waste trends included:

Click on the above trends to access a real-time project search in the AcuComm database.