Plastic into hydrogen plant given green light in Scotland

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Approval has been given for a £20m facility in Scotland that will turn waste plastic into hydrogen.

Artist's impression of the North Clyde facility
Artist's impression of the North Clyde facility - Peel NRE

The plans – approved by West Dunbartonshire Council - 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 Plc’s Distributed Modular Generation (DMG) to create a local source of sustainable hydrogen from non-recyclable plastics otherwise destined for landfill, incineration or export overseas.

DMG technology processes non-recyclable plastic, end-of-life-tyres, and other waste streams and converts them into syngas from which chemical precursors, hydrogen, electricity and other industrial products can be derived. Powerhouse said the process can generate up to two tonnes of road-fuel quality hydrogen and over 58MWh of exportable electricity per day.

Hydrogen from the new facility will be used as fuel for HGVs, buses and cars, with plans for a linked hydrogen refuelling station on the site.

In a statement, Richard Barker, development director at Peel NRE, said: “The facility will address the dual challenge of both tackling our problem plastic whilst creating hydrogen, a sustainable fuel for future generations.

“Whilst the focus must remain on removing plastic from society, there are still end of life plastics that need managing. The £20m 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.”

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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.

Paul Drennan-Durose, CEO of Powerhouse Energy Group, said: “This is the second in a planned portfolio of such recycling facilities across the UK we’re currently exploring with Peel NRE. It demonstrates our commitment to tackling the greatest challenges of our time – tackling climate change and addressing our waste plastic - with innovative technologies.”

Peel NRE has signed a collaboration agreement with Powerhouse Energy Group to develop 11 waste plastic to hydrogen facilities across the UK, with the option of exclusive rights for a total of 70 facilities. The Rothesay Dock facility will take 15 months to complete.