According to reports, Metso Oyj (MEO1V), a Finnish engineering company, plans to expand its biomass business in China and India as growing urban populations drive up energy demand, while European governments cut back support for clean power.
The growth of Asian cities adds to waste as well as energy consumption, offering opportunities to use that waste as biomass, Martin Ridderheim, vice president of Helsinki-based Metso’s power business, said by e-mail.
Power plants fueled by municipal waste, wood chips and straw can help utilities reduce consumption of coal to generate electricity. China, the world’s biggest coal user, has offered incentives to build clean-energy projects as it seeks to meet burgeoning power demand without adding to carbon emissions.
“If the current urbanization trend continues in China, nearly 1 billion people will live in Chinese urban centers by 2025,” Ridderheim said. In India, more than 590 million people may live in cities by 2030, or twice the population of the U.S. today, he said.
India, which also relies on coal for most of its electricity output, plans to add 29,800 megawatts of renewable generation capacity by 2017, of which 2,700 megawatts could come from bio-energy, according to the country’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
India is one of the most “significant” markets for biomass power plants after China, Ridderheim said. Metso, which invests about 70 million euros ($89 million) a year in biomass research and development, is also interested in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia, he said.