Incineration of municipal solid waste in Malaysia: Salient issues, policies and waste-to-energy initiatives

Sharifah Aishah Syed ABD KADIR, Chun Yang YIN*, Muhamad ROSLI SULAIMAN, Xi CHEN, Mohanad EL-HARBAWI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsReview articleOther Review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Municipal solid wastes (MSW) disposal and treatment essentially pose problems in many countries due to their voluminous characteristic. The customary means of MSW management is via landfill disposal but its dependency is gradually being limited by developed countries due to environmental concerns. Even though not apparent as it seems, Malaysia is gradually experiencing scarcity of available land for development. As such, the local government is currently looking into the possibility of employing high-end and large-scale incineration processes to address this issue. MSW as a combustion source for thermochemical conversion application, represents a two-pronged approach in solving its disposal dilemma as well as providing a source of energy fuel. This paper highlights the current issues and future directions as well as energy recovery initiatives associated with incineration of MSW in Malaysia. In Malaysia, energy recovery initiatives are focused on application of waste-to-energy (WTE) as well as refuse-derived fuel (RDF) technologies. Aspects regarding MSW landfill gas capture and energy generation are also discussed since they may directly influence (or potentially compete against) the widespread adoption of RDF technologies. A relatively successful RDF pilot plant in Malaysia is highlighted as a case study. It is deemed that application of large-scale incineration technologies in Malaysia is inevitable as opening of new landfill areas will ultimately cease in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Chun-Yang Yin and Xi Chen acknowledge financial support by Murdoch University's Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Collaborator Program. Mohanad El-Harbawi acknowledges financial support provided by the Research Center of the Faculty of Engineering, King Saud University.


  • Energy recovery
  • Incineration
  • Malaysia
  • Municipal solid waste
  • Refuse-derived fuel


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