The proposed facility is designed to help Devon County Council meet Government targets to divert waste away from landfill and improve levels of recycling and recovery.
If the planning application is successful, it will be sited on the Marsh Barton Industrial Estate on the area occupied by the old Exeter incinerator until it was decommissioned in 1996.
The proposed plant will treat up to 60,000 tonnes of municipal waste while also generating electricity and usable heat.
Viridor project manager Howard Ellard said: We have been encouraged by the positive interest shown during our consultations with the local community and by the constructive comments we have received. As a result, we have been able to submit a strong planning application and we now look forward to the formal consultation period leading to the decision of the planning authority.
Devon County Council has been investigating waste management options in response to a European Union directive that limits the amount of waste local authorities can send to landfill.
Leader of the Council councillor Brian Greenslade said: "Even though we are one of the top three recycling counties in the country, recycling alone will not help us meet our targets. Currently we recycle about 40% of our waste and we are aiming to achieve 50% by 2010.
This still means over 100,000 tonnes a year that will require disposal by other means, so we have to look at alternatives.