The UAE, which has the largest biomass capacity in the region, is expected to develop its waste-to-energy (WtE) sector as part of the Middle East push into the nascent renewables sector. 

According to a report by research firm BMI, six out of eight WtE projects in their key projects data (KPD) are located in the UAE, with a total capacity of 571 megawatts (MW).

The report said these developments are supported by the government’s target to stop 75% of its waste going to landfills.

One project, the Sharjah Waste to Energy plant, located in the UAE, has generated enough electricity to power 2,000 houses over its first year, with the added benefit of diverting 90% of Sharjah's, waste whilst reducing landfill emissions.

"With the UAE hosting COP28 this year, the market is focusing efforts on reducing emissions, with waste-to-energy plants as a key component of this. We expect this adds upside risks to our UAE, and MENA, forecasts."

BMI has increased its forecast for biomass capacity in the MENA region to 659MW by 2031 from the last year's forecast of 231MW.  MENA’s increased capacity is because of large WtE projects worth 400MW in the UAE, as well as a smaller 30MW project in Egypt.

The report noted that at a global level, biomass capacity will grow by about 31.4GW from end-2022 to 2032, with over 65% of the growth expected to be in Asian markets.

Mainland China will continue to lead the expansion of the biomass power sector over the coming years, with a net capacity growth of 6.9GW from end-2022 to 2032, accounting for more than half of Asia’s biomass capacity growth.

Bioenergy, which includes both biomass and biofuels used in the heating, transport and power sectors, is a significant renewables component for India’s energy sector, making up 88% of its total renewable energy supply in 2019, according to IEA.

BMI said India will overtake Germany in 2032 to become the 4th largest biomass market globally, driven by government support and a huge agricultural sector.

(Writing by Brinda Darasha; editing by Seban Scaria)