Plans For Plastics To Hydrogen Facility At Protos Submitted

Peel Environmental – part of Peel L&P – working in partnership with Waste2Tricity has submitted plans for a waste plastic to hydrogen facility at its 54-hectare Protos site near Ellesmere Port which would help reduce fossil fuel consumption and create jobs.

The £7m plant will use ‘UK first’ advanced thermal treatment technology developed by PowerHouse Energy Group (AIM:PHE) at Thornton Science Park, next door to Protos. The pioneering DMG® (Distributed Modular Generation) technology could transform the way plastics are dealt with in the region.  The plant will take up to 35 tonnes of unrecyclable plastics a day and create a local source of hydrogen which could be used to power road vehicles.

This local source of hydrogen could be used as a clean and low-cost fuel for buses, Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and cars, helping to reduce air pollution and improve air quality on local roads. The facility would also generate electricity which could be provided to commercial users via a microgrid at Protos, helping to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.  Peel Environmental is looking at developing a closed loop solution at Protos where plastics are recycled on-site with the leftover material used to create hydrogen.

The development would see a further 14 full time permanent jobs created at the Protos site with over 100 jobs created in the North West during fabrication and construction.

Myles Kitcher from Peel Environmental – part of Peel L&P – said:

“This is a great step forward towards delivering the first of many waste plastic to hydrogen facilities across the UK. There is huge potential for hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in our transport system.  We already have hydrogen buses in Liverpool and trains being converted to hydrogen in Widnes. Using waste plastic to generate a local source of hydrogen could not only help to reduce our reliance on landfill but improve local air quality with a clean and low-cost fuel for buses, HGVs and cars.”

John Hall from Waste2Tricity said:

“We are excited to have submitted plans for this first plant – the first in a series of developments that have the capability to make the North West a leader in moving towards clean energy and to help in achieving the Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.  With this plant we are recognising the importance of the low carbon distributed Hydrogen Economy and, importantly, embracing the circular economy.  This closed loop solution tackles the country’s problem of how to dispose of unrecyclable plastic whilst producing a clean fuel for the future.  Waste2Tricity are proud to be development partners in this global first and look forward to continuing to work with Peel Environmental.”

David Ryan, CEO of PowerHouse Energy Group (AIM:PHE), said:

“The submission of the planning application is an important step forward in delivering the first commercial application of the DMG technology, creating hydrogen from waste plastics. The team have worked hard to develop a robust application and we’re hopeful of securing consent and subsequent financial close in the coming months.”

The Protos strategic energy hub sits within the Energy Innovation District (EID), which is spearheaded by the Cheshire Energy Hub and brings together energy users, network owners, innovators and partners working alongside Cheshire & Warrington LEP, Cheshire West and Chester Council and the University of Chester.  The EID is looking to develop a local, smart energy microgrid which a recent report demonstrated could lead to energy cost savings of up to 25% and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 34%.

Ged Barlow, Chair of the Energy Innovation District said:

“We’re looking at how electricity generated at places like Protos could be provided directly to energy users in the Energy Innovation District.  The creation of a microgrid could transform how we consume energy in the region, reducing costs and saving carbon emissions. Projects such as this are a key part of the North West, and the UKs, road to net zero and show how we’re leading the way.”

The project is also one of many under the North West’s bid to become the UKs first low carbon cluster by 2030.  The North West Energy and Hydrogen Cluster is being led by the North West Business Leadership Team, with support from Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region Mayors and the Cheshire & Warrington LEP.  In competition with other regions – such as Humber and Teeside – the Cluster could deliver 33,000 jobs, over £4bn investment and save 10 million tonnes of carbon per year

Rebecca Eatwell