Cheshire West & Chester Council have given the green light to Peel Environmental and Waste2Tricity plans for a plastic waste to hydrogen plant near Ellesmere Port.
The facility will be built at the 54 hectare Protos Park plant, near Thornton Science Park, at a cost of around £20m. It's the first time this waste transformation technology has been used in the UK and will serve as a blueprint for future projects due to be rolled out across the country.
Peel has the option of exclusive rights to the Powerhouse Energy technology in the UK and plans to build 11 facilities across the UK in the next few years.
Low carbon industrial cluster
Myles Kitcher, Managing Director at Peel Environmental said the successful commercialisation of the technology at Protos Park would demonstrate the way the north-west was setting a low carbon standard for others to follow. The region is bidding to become the UK's first low carbon cluster by 2030.
John Hall, Waste2Tricity was delighted that Cheshire West & Chester Council had got behind the project with plans to roll out the technology across the country generating over £130m in investments. The initial development will create 14 full-time permanent jobs at Protos and is valued at £7m. Construction will begin in the autumn generating over 100 jobs in construction and fabrication in the local economy.
Transforming how waste is handled
The so-called 'Plastic Park' will revolutionise the way plastic waste is currently handled by transforming up to 35 tonnes of unrecyclable plastics daily into hydrogen. This clean fuel will then power buses, cars and heavy goods vehicles, improving air quality and reducing pollution in the region.
The Plastic Parks are planned to offer a solution to the 4.9m tonnes of plastic waste generated annually which currently ends up in landfill or the ocean.
The facility will also generate electricity that will be made available to commercial users via the Protos grid. Research is underway into creating a closed-loop system where even plastic scraps can be used to generate hydrogen.
Distributed Modular Generation
This pioneering plant will be driven by DMG (Distributed Modular Generation) technology developed by Powerhouse Energy. Richard Barker, director at Peel, said: "This FEED phase is an important step forward in delivering this innovative technology at Protos."
The process involves filling a sealed chamber with plastic waste. This is then heated to extremely high temperatures where carbon is removed and the remaining solids are converted into synthetic gas or syngas. This is then drawn off into another chamber and used to generate road fuel quality hydrogen.
David Ryan, chief executive of Powerhouse Energy, said: "Our technology is a sustainable solution for dealing with plastics that would otherwise end up in landfills, and because we're generating hydrogen it's much more efficient than other energy-from-waste processes." Hydrogen is increasingly seen as a critical part of the UK's journey to carbon net-zero.
If the UK is to meet those ambitious targets, the use of innovative technology will be key according to Ged Barlow, Chair of the Cheshire Energy Hub. Peel L&P has already achieved Net Zero Carbon status as defined by the UK Green Building Council.