UK plastic-to-hydrogen plant set for operation next year

Article by Adam Duckett

A CONSORTIUM has announced it could invest up to £130m (US$160m) building 11 waste-to-hydrogen plants across the UK, with the first set for operation in Cheshire next year.

Peel L&P has signed a collaboration agreement with project developer Waste2Tricity and process developer Powerhouse Energy to build a plant at its Protos site near Ellesmere Port that will process plastic waste into hydrogen.

The plant will be the first to use Powerhouse Energy’s DMG – or distributed modular gasification – process. This involves passing plastic through a rotating reactor operating above 1,000 °C, converting it to syngas. In phase one the project will process 35 t/d of plastic using the syngas to produce 80 MWh of electricity, and in phase two will shift to producing 2 t/d of hydrogen and 35 MWh of electricity.

The company expects the resulting hydrogen will be used to power buses and heavy goods vehicles.

Earlier this year, the UK’s Committee on Climate Change advised the Government to get serious on the development of a hydrogen economy, noting that it will be necessary to develop one for industry to meet a zero emissions target.

Myles Kitcher from Peel Environmental, part of Peel L&P, said: “Hydrogen is increasingly being seen as a vital part of our journey to zero carbon. This deal could be transformational in delivering a UK-first technology that can generate local sources of hydrogen but also provide a solution to plastic waste.”

A spokesperson for PEEL L&P told The Chemical Engineer that the company is looking at further sites across the UK to host the other ten plants that would form the remainder of its £130m investment plan but there is nothing further to announce at this stage.

David Ryan, CEO of PowerHouse Energy, said: “We are hugely encouraged by the fact that we have demonstrated our technology to Peel L&P over an extensive due diligence period and we have met the company’s criteria, not only technically but, more importantly, commercially. As one of the UK’s largest industrial landowners, Peel L&P’s land portfolio, their expertise and their blue-chip counterparties committed to plastic recycling and hydrogen usage enable us to look forward to successful delivery of the projects under this contract and beyond.”

Yesterday, a consortium including Drax and Equinor launched a campaign calling on the Government to support the development of a net zero emissions industrial cluster in the UK’s Humber region, and requested that industry players join their efforts.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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