Reports, Case Studies & Assessments

Status of Alternative Techniques for Thermal Waste Treatment


The expert report funded and published in the German language by the German Environment Agency (UBA):Ā 

The English translation available for download here was commissioned by ITAD, the association of thermal treatment plants in Germany ( It is made available in support of the CCAC Waste Initiative.
When using parts from this report or when quoting it, please make full references and acknowledgment.

Brief description:

For the thermal waste treatment incineration is the world's dominant process. Alternative thermal treatment processes for mixed municipal solid waste include pyrolysis, gasification or plasma, and have been presented by various providers often referring to the long-term operation of such plants in some Asian countries.

This report compiles a comprehensive description, profound information and critical expert assessment of most alternative thermal waste treatments regarding:

  • Development/maturity of the technology (according to VDI guideline 3460)
  • Required (pre-treatment) effort;
  • Type and quality of the products;
  • Complexity;
  • Economic factors.

The importance of framework conditions is illustrated, e.g. by highlighting that Asian Countries tolerate significantly higher treatment costs and lower annual operating times than Europe or North America. That allows for the understandingĀ of the distinct operation and framework conditions these technologies require.

The authors conclude that all considered alternative thermal processes are associated with greater treatment efforts and costs, and lesser performance in comparison to waste incineration.


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