Very broadly speaking, climate-tech is the industry that deals with at least one aspect of climate change, and it can be mitigation, adaptation, monitoring, regeneration, or removal of greenhouse gas emissions.  

The vast majority of the climate-tech industry still centers around the mitigation category. We see this in the problems and issues that companies are trying to solve and we see it in the financial attention those companies are getting, there is a staggering emphasis on investing in companies whose orientation is mitigating climate change effects.

Waste-to-energy is a pillar component in the climate tech industry because it plays a vital role in every one of those climate tech categories, and especially in mitigation and decarbonization efforts.

Waste to energy is offering huge opportunities and in a cost-effective way, that aligns financial interests with sustainability. This realization is gaining more weight and it is being reflected in the waste-to-energy market size.

If we look back on the last three years, we can see this vividly. In an analysis done by Fortune Business Insights in October 2022, they estimated the waste to energy market size in 2021 to be 32 billion dollars and projected to grow to over 44 billion dollars by 2029.

This market size does not grow in thin air, it’s the result of internalizing the benefits of waste to energy.

To frame this market in the right context, two general remarks are in order:

First, there is no magic bullet that can solve the climate crisis alone. It warrants consolidated efforts on everyone’s part, from a wide spectrum of topics that have to work together in a complimentary way.

Second, we need to keep in mind that just like in any other industry, the climate-tech industry includes a lot of background noises. If we examine how the industry behaved in the last three years, after COP26 we saw a big hype around climate-tech, we had the political attention and we gained momentum and budgets, and there were a lot of investments, many of them through SPAC and seed round investments, and then through the second quarter of 2022 things shifted. It’s not that some bubble burst, but it definitely felt like the honeymoon period was over investors as well as the industry realized that dealing with climate change involves serious technical and technological challenges that are not so easy to overcome. So from Q3 of 2022 we see that investments are shifting to Round A, there’s more emphasis on passing the proof of concept stage.

So with this mind, lets review how waste-to-energy can lead the way to decarbonize and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Waste to energy is a game changer for the most critical factor in mitigating climate change, and that is decarbonization. Here are two examples: decarbonizing the energy sector, and supporting decarbonization through the carbon markets.

First, lets look at the energy industry. There is so much going on in the energy market nowadays.

The energy industry, as we know, is responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions, mostly through the burning of fusil fuels. And in massive scales. The US Energy Information Administration published in early January in a press release its prediction for a record global petroleum consumption in 2024, referring to gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, that will average to more than 102 million barrels per day in 2024. So fuel is not going away anytime soon.

We also have dramatic rise in demand for electricity, projections are talking about increasing the demand from the current 27 tera kilowatts hour to 60 tera kilowatts hour in 2050, that’s just around the corner.  

There is also rising demand for hydrogen as a source for energy, especially with respect to electric vehicles.

The world is going to need a lot of energy, and that energy is required to be clean of greenhouse gas emissions. Waste to energy plants can contribute to meeting those rising demands. The problem of waste can become the solution for energy.

The great thing about waste to energy is that it takes all the checklist we want out of our energy resources today, and adds another layer of eliminating the waste while we’re at it. If you think about waste as a renewable energy resource, it’s not that farfetched. Ironically, we can rely on having enough waste to generate energy more than we can rely on wind, or even the sun. We have SO MUCH waste it is a tremendous resource if you know what to do with it. And turning it to energy is a great way to go at it:

Using Co-Energy’s plants you can use 1 ton of plastic waste to generate 500 liters of diesel, or 1.78 megawatt, or 150 kilograms of hydrogen. So in terms of meeting the demands AND making it clean and green, waste to energy is a powerful tool.

Waste to energy can be a game changer for decarbonization efforts also when considering the carbon markets.

Carbon markets are a great way to incentivize decarbonization, and as we move forward with technological advancements, we see more and more options to engage in those markets. What used to be reforestation as the only option is opening up to exciting opportunities for capturing carbon. What the carbon markets are looking for is stability, and stability goes hand in hand with reliability.

Just like in any other market, carbon markets stakeholders look for clarity. Clarity and confidence in carbon trading will come from high quality projects that generate high volume of permanent carbon sequestration, and this is where waste to energy come into play with converting organic waste to biochar. Converting organic waste to biochar is a perfect use case for the carbon markets, as was expressed in the Wall Street Journal in their article about biochar and carbon credits recently published.

In converting organic waste to biochar we prevent the emission of methane and CO2, we create a carbon sink, and we turn waste into a tradeable commodity with various agriculture applications and so on. And this is a far better option than any other option for treating organic waste. Through Co-Energy’s biochar plants you get tens of thousands of sequestered carbon that is removed from the atmosphere. A removal that is considered permanent. This is the kind of clarity and confidence needed in the carbon markets.

Last but not least, it is important to address an issue that is sometimes overlooked but is really important and that is creating a safe work environment. We sometimes tend to talk in big titles about waste-to-energy and decarbonization etc., and when those words are translated to actions on the ground they involve hard working people doing a fantastic job in a rough environment, so when we as a community or a government choose which technologies we want to support, we need to also address the issue of how these technologies create a safe work environment. At Co-Energy this is something that we always keep in mind when we design and set up a project. 

So to sum up, no matter what angle of the climate-tech industry you’re looking, whether through enhancing renewable energy resources, decarbonization efforts, smart waste management etc. The waste to energy sector has a lot to offer, and those few companies that have crossed the technological barrier can put forward projects that tie all the loose ends, present a solid business model and really make a change.

We have grown costumed to think about renewable energy as energy that is produced from replenished natural sources. We rely on solar power as we know the Sun will continue to shine. We use wind turbines to produce electricity because we assume wind will continue to blow. The emphasis in renewable energy resources is, however, not so much on their naturalness but rather on their renewablness.

What if we could find a source of energy that is man-made and could fit this category? What if there was something that its presence, now and in the future, was absolute and certain almost as sunlight, and perhaps even more reliable than wind? Well, there is one. Actually there are two. It is time to rethink the definition and perception of what renewable energy sources are and expand our minds so as to include the most common man-made replenish source of energy – waste and plastics.

Waste, or more precisely Municipal Solid Waste in general, and plastics in particular are the perfect sources to produce energy. Using Co-Energy’s modules, you can use MSW and plastics to produce either fuel (i.e. diesel) or electricity, and we hope that soon enough our R&D efforts will enable the production of hydrogen, ethanol and methanol.

The quantities of waste and plastic are sky rocking, and it is safe to say that as long as mankind is here, waste and plastics will continue to be here as well. Education for wise consumption and recycling are important, and should be kept and expended. It does not contradict Co-Energy’s efforts to view waste and plastics as a source of energy. In fact, they are complementary. Let’s take for example the current reported amounts of global plastic waste generated from the packaging industry alone, without an additional ounce of waste, is 141 million metric tons. That could suffice to produce enough electricity to match 52% of the annual consumption of electricity by Germany. Think of it. For six whole months Germany could rely only on plastic waste from packaging industry as its national source of energy. This could be life changing to millions of lives around the world, especially in developing countries.

Co-Energy’s system has the ability to transform these numbers from ink to reality, while freeing the world from dependency on fossil fuel. We believe that waste and plastics are with us to stay just as much as sunlight and it’s about time to take the lemon and make it into energy. If it fits the logic of renewable energy and behaves like a source of renewable energy – waste and plastics should be considered a source of renewable energy.

The term Waste-to-Energy (also known as “WTE”) describes the process of using waste as a source for production of energy. This definition encompasses three pillars – the waste; the process that waste undergoes; and the energy that is produced as a result of that process. In this paper we will briefly discuss each one of these pillars and show how Co-Energy’s module can maximize the potential of each step in itself and of the process as a whole.

The Waste

Municipal Solid Waste, also known as MSW, is the main source of the waste-to-energy process. Modern life generates huge amounts of waste on a daily basis. Along with desired education and raising public awareness to the importance of limited consumption and recycling; waste treatment strategies are becoming a growing concern for municipalities worldwide.

Waste-to-energy as a waste treatment strategy is a great way turning a nuisance into a resource. Furthermore, when done properly, waste-to-energy has a sound economic rationale that can produce significant income from the selling of energy. Using Co-Energy’s solution, the expected return on investment is dramatically short and the profit projections are high.

MSW is usually composed of the following nine types of materials: (1) papers including uncoated corrugated cardboard, paper bags, newspapers etc.; (2) glass including flat glass and various colors of glass bottles and containers; (3) metal including steel cans, major appliances, used oil filters etc.; (4) electronics including brown goods, computer related electronics etc.; (5) plastics including PETE containers, HDPE containers, plastic trash bags etc.; (6) other organics including food, leaves and grass, manures, textiles etc.; (7) construction and demolition including concrete, asphalt paving, lumber etc.; (8) household hazardous waste including paint, used oil, batteries etc.; and (9) special waste including ash, treated medical waste, tires etc.

Sorting MSW to its different components so that each could be treated is a long and costly process. One of the key advantages of using Co-Energy’s plant is that sorting is not required, thus saving time and money to waste treatment entities. It also shortens the process, making it efficient and simple in terms of the logistics it requires.

The Process

The process of turning waste into energy can take several forms. The most common method is by incineration, in which organic waste is combusted and energy is produced as a result. Incineration was originally adopted as an advanced alternative to landfilling, in which waste is buried underground, a method that is widely regarded as inefficient and damaging to the environment.

The process of waste to energy we at Co-Energy use is pyrolysis, a chemical process known since the 18th century. Pyrolysis is the thermos-chemical decomposition of material at 400° Celsius, in an aerobic environment, that is in a complete lack of oxygen.

The temperatures required for pyrolysis are substantially lower than those required for conventional gasification or other methods like plasma arc. This is another advantage of the pyrolysis method. It lowers the costs of the process, enhances the lifespan of the plant, and contributes to safety aspects of the plant’s operation.

In addition, the emissions level generated as a result of the pyrolysis are significantly lower than those generated by incineration based processes.

The Energy

The two most common forms of energy generated at the end of the Waste-to-Energy process are fuel and electricity. The future development of Co-Energy’s plant will also enable the production of methanol and hydrogen, thus bringing it in line with the evolving trends in key markets such as vehicle and transportation.

The low costs of the process allow the producer to sell the energy, whether fuel or electricity, at competitive prices. It is worth mentioning that some of the energy produced by Co-Energy’s plant can also be used to power up the plant itself, making the whole process self-sustained.


Employing waste-to-energy methods is a vital part in a full and comprehensive perception of sustainability. It complements other important segments like recycling and educated consumption habits. It enables us to continue rely on a continuous supply of clean green energy, while not exhausting Earth’s natural resources. 

Having said that, in an economically driven world, waste-to-energy models have to prove they are economically profitable otherwise they won’t realize their potential.

Co-Energy’s solution meets each of the challenges that rendered waste-to-energy methods not attractive as business models, first and foremost the reliance on sorting of waste. It takes waste-to-energy to the next level and offers a sound prediction with a significantly fast return on investment predictions.