Peel Environmental believe the partnership could improve air quality on the road, as well as reduce the amount of plastic waste going to landfills
Waste infrastructure company Peel Environmental – part of energy group Peel L&P – has partnered with waste-to-electricity firms Waste2Tricity and PowerHouse Energy to develop “waste plastic to hydrogen” facilities in the UK.
The first of 11 sites to be developed as part of the £130m agreement will be located at Peel Environmental’s 54-acre Protos facility near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.
Using distributed modular gasification (DMG) technology developed by Powerhouse Energy, the sites will produce hydrogen from unrecyclable plastics – developing “clean and low-cost” hydrogen, which it believes could be used to power buses, heavy goods vehicles and hydrogen cars.
The firm says the technology could transform the way waste plastics are dealt with nationally.
“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.
“As a business we’re looking at solutions for all plastics with a vision for these facilities to sit alongside recycling and recovery.
“We’re pioneering this solution in the North West of England but local authorities across the country could benefit from a more sustainable way to treat waste plastic, while also creating a local source of low-carbon transport fuel which could help them meet their climate change targets.”
How will Peel Environmental’s the plastic to hydrogen technology work, and what are the potential benefits?
The facilities will use what Peel Environmental describes as “advanced thermal treatment technology” – which uses high temperatures to change plastic waste into electricity.
It’s designed to fulfil two purposes, firstly it could reduce air pollution while providing a solution to the waste problem, by using any plastic that can’t be reused or recycled.
Waste2Tricity managing director John Hall said: “As pioneers of the low-carbon distributed hydrogen economy, we are delighted to see this collaboration with Peel Environmental, which has recognised the importance of hydrogen as a fuel for the future.
“Along with contributing to a growing circular economy, this innovative technology will undoubtedly play an important role in helping the UK meet its net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, whilst tackling the country’s problem of how to dispose of unrecyclable plastic.
“This agreement is an important first in the industry and exemplifies the circular economy.
“We recognise the importance of moving away from a linear economy and adopting technologies that minimise waste.
“Given the value of this project, and the formal collaboration with Peel L&P, we expect increased investor interest in supporting this revolutionary technology across the UK.”
PowerHouse Energy’s CEO David Ryan says the collaboration with Peel Environmental demonstrates the company’s technological potential.
He said: “This contractual agreement represents a substantial commitment from Peel L&P to the wider deployment of DMG energy recovery technology in the UK.
“Its commitment to commercial and funding engagement is an important step.
“Peel L&P will aid the roll out of the technology and importantly they share our vision of the great potential arising from the distributed hydrogen economy.
“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, its expertise and its blue-chip counterparties committed to plastic recycling and hydrogen usage enables us to look forward to successful delivery of the projects under this contract and beyond.”
For each of the 11 sites, Peel Environmental will provide real estate and infrastructure support, while Waste2Tricity will act as the developer and PowerHouse Energy the technology and engineering services provider.
The partnership is due to submit a planning application for the first site in the coming weeks.