UK approves second waste plastic to hydrogen plant

The 13,500 tonne West Dunbartonshire facility will use Powerhouse Energy's technology to create sustainable hydrogen from non-recyclable plastics

A £20m facility designed to turn waste plastic into hydrogen and support the UK’s energy transition to Net Zero has been approved.

West Dunbartonshire Council gave the green light to the plant, the second of its kind in the UK. The plans were lodged by Peel NRE – part of Peel L&P – for the site at Rothesay Dock on the north bank of the River Clyde.

The 13,500 tonne facility will use Powerhouse Energy's technology to create a local source of sustainable hydrogen from non-recyclable plastics, destined for landfill, incineration or export overseas.

The hydrogen will be used as a clean fuel for HGVs, buses and cars, with plans for a linked hydrogen refuelling station on the site. It follows the Government doubling its hydrogen production target by 2030 as part of the recently-published Energy Security Strategy so more clean and affordable energy can be produced in Britain as energy prices continue to rise globally.

Richard Barker, Development Director at Peel NRE, said the plant shows how the UK is innovating when it comes to rolling out new net zero technologies.

"The facility will address the dual challenge of both tackling our problem plastic whilst creating hydrogen, a sustainable fuel for future generations," he said. 

“Whilst the focus must remain on removing plastic from society, there are still end of life plastics that need managing. The plant will play a pivotal role in making the best use of non-recyclable material, with the resulting hydrogen able to help cut carbon emissions from vehicles.”

The first project, due to begin construction this year, will be delivered at Peel NRE’s Protos site in Cheshire near Ellesmere Port. In Scotland, it is estimated construction will take around 15 months to complete the facility.

Paul Drennan-Durose, CEO of Powerhouse Energy Group, said the consent is another key landmark for the rollout of our pioneering technology in the UK, creating a local source of hydrogen production and a vehicle refuelling station.

"It’ll help deliver a low carbon alternative to diesel vehicles, responding to both Scottish and UK Government missions to decarbonise our communities and economy," he said.

“It demonstrates our commitment to tackling the greatest challenges of our time – tackling climate change and addressing our waste plastic - with innovative technologies.”

Zero Waste Scotland estimates that around 500,000 tonnes of waste plastic are produced in Scotland every year, with research undertaken by Anthesis, on behalf of Peel NRE, showing that around 300,000 tonnes are within the central belt of Scotland.

Peel NRE has signed a collaboration agreement with Powerhouse Energy Group to develop 11 waste plastic to hydrogen facilities across the UK over the next few years, with the option of exclusive rights for a total of 70 facilities.

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