Focus on clinical waste

Clinical waste is an important niche area of the waste management sector. While volumes are typically small, such waste is often hazardous or unpleasant in nature and needs to be disposed of in a sensitive manner. It’s a job that hospitals typically undertake themselves, but there is growing interest in the provision of such services from specialised third parties.

One such is Tradebe. In September 2019, the company received a draft environmental permit from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to operate a new clinical waste treatment facility at the Bellshill Healthcare Waste Treatment and Transfer Site in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire. Planning permission was granted in July 2019. The draft permit allows for a capacity exceeding 10 tonnes per day of hazardous waste and 75 tpd of non-hazardous waste. Tradebe expects the plant to be operational in October 2019, to fulfil a 10-year contract with the Scottish Government, valued at £10 million annually.

The Bellshill site will manage clinical waste disposal in Scotland for a range of waste producers. This will primarily involve waste produced by NHS Scotland trusts, but could also include waste arising from private hospitals, pharmacies, care homes, beauticians and veterinary practices. The service will include collecting, transporting, treating and disposing of the clinical wastes. Waste will be collected from medical and research sites. It will comprise of both clinical waste and other wastes produced on these facilities. At the Bellshill site, depending on the waste type, the waste will be either bulked up and sent off-site for incineration or disposal at landfill or treated on-site via a shredder, steam auger and drier, before compaction. This waste treatment process will be supported by natural gas powered boilers to provide heat to generate steam, natural gas burners to provide warm air for the drier (indirect heating), enclosed automatic bin washers and a vehicle wash-down area.

Tradebe Healthcare is one of a small number of dedicated clinical waste management companies. It operates largely in the UK, although the parent company is in Spain. In addition to the Bellshill site, it currently has four other locations in the UK: Avonmouth, Redditch, Wrexham and Rochester. The latter site was expanded in August 2019. The company is also involved in the US market. In November 2018, it announced a new upgrading project at a site in New Jersey run by Norlite, a Tradebe subsidiary. This is expected to be complete early in 2020.

Including those referenced above, AcuComm currently lists 32 active projects dealing exclusively with clinical waste. These are principally located in the USA and UK, although individual examples can be found elsewhere.

clinical-graphSource: AcuComm database September 2019. Click here to view the full dataset.

Clinical waste projects tend to be small-scale in comparison with more general waste projects. The average value of a clinical project in the AcuComm database is around US$13 million, while the annual throughput is an average of 11,600 tonnes per year or around 30 tonnes per day. Many are far smaller than this; for example a facility opened in Oman in 2016 which has capacity of 2.2 tonnes per day.

Incineration is the most common form of disposal, although there are signs of interest in the use of more advanced forms of treatment. AcuComm lists two clinical waste gasification plants, for example, one in the UK and one in the USA. Both were announced in 2018 but neither is currently operational. As ever, the more advanced the technology, the longer and less certain the lead times become.

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.

AD 1

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.

AD 2

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.

Global Waste Investment Fact File: Switzerland

In the latest edition of our Global Waste Investment Fact File, we switch our focus to Switzerland and cover 27 projects in the country. These have a total value of US$1,711 million, an average of US$63 million per project.


Key points from this Fact File

  • Incineration (with energy recovery) is the leading project type, accounting for US$1,143 million or 67% of the total. This is followed by recycling which accounts for US$214 million or 12% of the total.
  • The total estimated capacity of these projects is 3 million tonnes. This is equal to 111,372 tonnes per project on average and 50% of Switzerland’s annual waste generation.
  • Waste investments totalling US$347 million are expected to become operational over the next few years. This is currently expected to peak in 2018 at US$225 million.
Download this Fact File.

See the latest projects in Switzerland.

Global Waste Investment Fact File: United States

The latest focus for our Global Waste Investment Fact File series is the USA edition. In February 2018, AcuComm was listing 949 projects in the country, with a total value of US$64,195 million.


Continue reading Global Waste Investment Fact File: United States

Weekly Projects Update – 47 new/updated projects, worth an estimated US$5,482m

In the week ending 20th July 2018, AcuComm added 15 new projects and updated 32 in the database. These projects have a combined estimated value of US$5,482 million.

There are now 5,214 active projects in the AcuComm database, worth an estimated US$345.6 million.


 New Project | Updated Project | Full Access Project

Continue reading Weekly Projects Update – 47 new/updated projects, worth an estimated US$5,482m

AcuComm’s Daily Full Access Project – Belgium Biofuel Facility

Construction of a biofuel production facility

Earlier this month, it was announced that ArcelorMittal had begun construction of new premises that will house a bioethanol production facility – the first of its kind on an industrial scale in Europe.

Continue reading AcuComm’s Daily Full Access Project – Belgium Biofuel Facility

Weekly Projects Update – 41 new/updated projects, worth an estimated US$3,047m

In the week ending 25th May 2018, AcuComm added 16 new projects and updated 25 in our database. These projects have an estimated value of US$3,047 million.

This brings the total number of active projects in the database to 5,068. They have an estimated value of US$346.7 million or US$68 million on average.


 New Project | Updated Project | Full Access Project

Continue reading Weekly Projects Update – 41 new/updated projects, worth an estimated US$3,047m

AcuComm’s Daily Full Access Project – Denmark Biomass Plant

Development of an 8.5 MW biomass plant

Justsen Energiteknik, who is supplying the boiler to a new biomass plant in Langeland, has revealed that equipment was delivered to Midtlangeland Fjernvarme’s site last week.

Continue reading AcuComm’s Daily Full Access Project – Denmark Biomass Plant

#Editors’Pick – WtE Facilities in Japan & Poland

Japan: Construction of a 160 tpd WtE facility

Hitachi Zosen has been awarded a contract to develop and operate a waste-to-energy (WtE) facility in Yamagata Prefecture. The company will be working with Sato Construction and Tsuruoka Construction to build the plant, which will house two 80 tpd furnaces.

Continue reading #Editors’Pick – WtE Facilities in Japan & Poland