Municipal, industrial, agricultural—there’s no denying that we generate a lot of waste. And all this waste is starting to cause headaches due to a dwindling number of places to direct it to. Now imagine if there were facilities that could turn some of this waste into something useful, such as electricity, renewable natural gas, high value chemicals, or transportation fuel? You would think they would be wildly popular and every city would have one, right?

Truth is, facilities like this do exist, with a number of them installed throughout the United States. Now you’re probably asking yourself, why there aren’t more in operation? The answer can be found in the challenges waste-to-energy facilities face when trying to turn their vision into reality. Let’s take a look at three of the big ones: securing financing, securing long-term feedstock supply agreements, and securing long-term off-take agreements for energy produced.

Securing Financing

In our post-recession economy, lending institutions have been reluctant to invest in projects and/or technologies that are, or are perceived to be, new and unproven in the US market. Waste-to-energy facilities are capital-intensive and continue to be seen as high-risk investments for a number of reasons, including technology reliability and the certainty of their waste streams and off-take arrangements.

Feedstock Supply

In order to generate energy, waste-to-energy facilities need a reliable incoming waste stream to feed a process. While there will always be waste, its volume and characteristics can be changing and unpredictable at times.  Waste-to-energy facilities employ processes that require a consistent volume of flow and, depending on the process employed, can be sensitive to the characterization and variations in the waste stream.  As such, these facilities need to find a way to utilize as wide of a cross-section of the available waste stream as possible in order to prove their long-term economic feasibility.  Once identified, securing long-term feedstock supply agreements is crucial to demonstrating to the project stakeholders that the surrounding market can provide the feedstock necessary to fuel their potential investment.

Product Off-Take Agreements

Another element to proving long-term economic feasibility is the facility’s ability to secure off-take agreements for the product(s) they will produce. If project financing is required, these agreements must be negotiated prior to the financial closing with the project lender.  As the lender is motivated to ensure that their repayment of the debt and interest takes place, these off-take agreements provide assurance that the facility’s product(s) will be sold at a predictable price over a designated period of time.

Understanding the importance of this technology and its potential impact on our environment, Miron is helping waste-to-energy facilities tackle these hurdles by offering a full-service, integrated project delivery that allows us to help develop the foundation for a successful project and deliver a functional facility. We’ve partnered with experts in private financing, off-take agreements for merchant facilities, feedstock agreements, process technology providers, and process warranties, as well as facility owners and operators. We offer comprehensive pre-construction and construction services that provide certainty in construction schedules and budgets. We remain actively involved through the commissioning and start-up phases; ultimately to project completion.  Miron is committed to delivering a facility that functions as it is intended to perform and exceeding the expectations of our client.

Want to know more about our waste-to-energy capabilities? Please contact Jason Rieth at 715.841.4029 or jason.rieth@miron-construction.com for more information.