Deltaway’s Top 5

Five Myths About the Waste-to-Energy Industry

WTE is Expensive: Not true. In the absence of subsidies—which can distort the economics of any public-private project—WTE can be the least expensive strategy, especially when compared to disposing of waste in a secure sanitary landfill and the cost of generating power through more-traditional means. Proper design and the use of industry best practices and modern high-energy efficient designs make WTE competitive with most other waste-treatment options.

WTE Technology Options are Costly and Limited: Not true. Large, high-priced international firms are not the only, or even the most efficient, option available. Deltaway now has access to proven technologies due to the expiration of numerous patents in the field.

WTE Emissions are High: Not true. Modern WTE projects generate fewer emissions than typical conventional fuel power plants, and they eliminate a large portion of the ozone depleting methane generated by landfills. The flue gas treatment in modern WTE projects removes more than 99 percent of dioxins, 96 percent of particulate matters, and 94 percent of HCL.

WTE Contributes to Climate Change: Not true. Life-cycle studies show that WTE reduces greenhouse gases by one ton of carbon dioxide equivalents for every ton of trash processed. Methane emissions that would have been generated in a landfill are avoided when the solid waste is used in a WTE facility. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

WTE Creates Large Amounts of Residue: Not true. WTE reduces overall trash volume by about 90 percent, resulting in a commensurate decrease in the land required for garbage disposal. Some ash from a WTE facility can be used in construction material, such as in road bases, reducing the need to extract and transport other materials. A tiny fraction—3 percent—of incoming waste volume remains after combustion and processing for landfill disposal.

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Five Recent Innovations in the Waste-to-Energy Industry

Improvements in industry best practices: Optimizing plant design to avoid under-performing plant systems and equipment. Modern WTE projects are not only more energy efficient, they are also more profitable because the industry has developed more cost-effective technologies as multiple generations of WTE projects have been implemented around the world.

Plant owners and regulators are seeking less-costly options in plant design and services, breaking from the traditional approach of relying on a handful of preferred large international WTE companies, helping to discourage monopolies, with their related impact on capital expenditures and annual operations and maintenance expenses.

China is becoming a player in promoting more cost-effective WTE plants. Modern Chinese WTE technology, from both a quality and cost perspective, can be extremely competitive with the industry’s leading OEM and engineering, procurement and construction contractors.

Access to greater number of WTE technology options, Large, high-priced international firms are not the only, or even the most efficient, option available. Deltaway now has access to proven technologies due to the expiration of numerous patents in the field.

Financing of a properly structured WTE project is increasingly straightforward. Now that WTE projects are more mainstream, investors have access to solid data to estimate a project’s operating costs and revenue stream, using long-term municipal solid waste supply and power purchase agreements . Two of the biggest unknowns—projected revenue and projected expenses—can now be forecast with reasonable certainty, reducing risk and financing costs. Subsidies, such as tax benefits, attractive financing supplied by a contractor’s host country, and the sale of carbon credits, can further reduce costs.

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Five Key Steps to a Successful Waste-to-Energy Project

Commission an effective feasibility study that addresses key project parameters, such as waste characterization. Establish realistic estimates of alternative waste disposal options and costs; and local area growth, waste production, and energy demands, etc.

Craft effective contracts between the owner, operation and maintenance contractor, waste supplier, power purchaser, and others.

Develop an all-inclusive financing plan for construction and long-term operation.

Use the EPC contract to ensure an efficient and reliable design, matching equipment selections and effective construction, commissioning, and startup programs

Aim for world-class operation and maintenance performance that applies “industry best practices” for facility management, training, outage/maintenance management, and other services. Integrate the operation and maintenance contractor into the project design and construction process to ensure that the project is developed to maximize its life-cycle returns and not simply minimize up-front capital expenditures

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Five Mistakes WTE Developers Make…and How to Avoid Them

Poor feasibility study: A poor study will result in unreliable financial estimates by improperly estimating costs and/or inputs, as well revenues by developing a plant that is improperly sized, or improperly designed for the local environment.

Crafting a weak waste supply agreement that fails to include a ‘put or pay’ clause, fails to address ash disposal issues, and fails to adequately address inflation and regulatory changes, or has a term that is inappropriate for the project

Signing a weak power purchase agreement that fails to fully account for inflation, the buyer’s creditworthiness, or impending regulatory changes

Working with an inexperienced construction contractor who is unable to build the project as designed

Poor plant design that improperly sizes components or relies on unproven technologies

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Five Key Performance Indicators for a Waste-to-Energy Facility

Boiler steam load: The steam output capacity of each boiler. This indicator drives a facility’s energy output and revenues.

Boiler mass load: Tonnage capacity of throughput of each boiler. This indicator drive tipping revenue of a WTE Facility. Waste heating value and boiler design will affect this performance indicator.

Boiler availability: Unscheduled downtime caused by breakdowns and planned outages drive this indicator.

Steam cycle efficiency: The efficiency of converting steam into electricity. Internal steam usage and turbine performance affect this indicator.

Internal electricity usage: Electricity used for a facility’s internal needs will decrease the amount of power available for sale.

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