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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Study on the Enabling Environment for Public-Private-Partnerships based Waste-to-Energy Projects in Selected Countries in Asia

The use of municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration for power generation (Waste-to-Energy, WtE) has evolved into a mainstream MSW treatment practice in China. Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) is the prevailing business model for developing and implementing WtE projects. The feasibility and benefits of PPP-based WtE have been demonstrated across regulatory, technical, financial and environmental dimensions. However, in contrast to China, MSW processing and disposal remains underdeveloped across many mega-cities in developing South and Southeast Asian countries, despite the increasingly serious environmental, social and economic impacts of MSW management in the context of rapid urbanization.

This study conducted a comparative analysis by using China as a benchmark to identify and assess the gaps in the ecosystems of WtE development in several countries in this region, including India, Bangladesh and Philippines. The technology profiles and costs of different WtE options were reviewed, including incineration, gasification and pyrolysis. The barriers to private sector’s participation in developing WtE projects were identified through sectoral policy review and case studies. A set of solutions were proposed to address the challenges and create the enabling environment for WtE. The recommended policy interventions include WtE-specific standardised concession agreements, technical performance indicators, structured government subsidies, access to concessional financing, and guarantee mechanisms to facilitate commercial lending. The author suggests that these measures will effectively mobilise the private sector resources and support the large scale deployment of PPP-based WtE throughout the countries examined.

Key words: MSW; Incineration; WtE; Energy; PPP; Enabling Environment; Asia


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.