Does anyone realise that selling gas, electricity, heat or transport fuel is a £110 billion market in the UK each year compared to 1% of that for recyclate and 10% of 1% if you convert material to compost?
Economics is not the whole answer of course but it does drive markets and, by and large, the bigger the prospect market the lower the risk of failure.
Two flies in the ointment exist however. First, the investment need is up to 10 times per processed tonne for the energy box compared to fertiliser substitutes. Secondly, market economics do not reflect the whole picture because the abatement value of carbon dioxide is not reflected in the bundle of subsidies and/or taxes that have grown like topsy in this arena. Although it has seemed off the radar for waste techies for years it won't be for much longer.
The latest electricity market review (EMR) represents a real hotchpotch of subsidies, feed-in tariffs, grants and whatnot that will do more to damage the market attitude to risk and waste investment than support it. Considering electricity, gas, heat, packaging PRNs, soils strategies in bureaucratic little boxes (each with their own little tax/subsidy sweeties) is madness.
The trigger for waste companies lies in 20-year commitments to technologies and markets evaluated within a coherent framework of carbon or carbon dioxide offsets measurement and reward derived from sound science, not arbitrary and incoherent fiscal instruments plucked from fevered imaginations. Anyone for tennis Vicar?