Peel signs £130m deal on converting waste plastic to hydrogen

The Protos site near Ellesmere Port

Peel Environmental – part of Manchester-based Peel Land & Property – has signed a collaboration agreement with Waste2Tricity and Yorkshire firm PowerHouse Energy which will see 11 waste plastic to hydrogen facilities developed across the UK as part of a £130m investment.

This follows the announcement that the first facility will be located at the company’s 54-hectare Protos site near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

Using a ‘UK first’ advanced thermal treatment technology the network of facilities could transform the way waste plastics are dealt with nationally.

The pioneering DMG (Distributed Modular Gasification) technology developed by Bingley-based Powerhouse Energy produces a local source of hydrogen from unrecyclable plastics.

This clean and low-cost hydrogen could be used to power buses and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), before being rolled out to hydrogen cars, helping to reduce air pollution and improve air quality on our roads.

Helping to tackle another significant environmental problem, the technology also provides a solution to plastics that cannot be re-used or recycled and that would otherwise end up in landfill.

With almost 1.2 million tonnes of waste plastics going to landfill every year, local authorities across the country are looking for alternative treatment technologies.

Myles Kitcher from Peel Environmental, said: “Hydrogen is increasingly being seen as a vital part of our journey to zero carbon.

“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, but local authorities across the country could benefit from a more sustainable way to treat waste plastic, whilst also creating a local source of low carbon transport fuel which could help them meet their climate change targets.”

John Hall, from Waste2Tricity, said: “As pioneers of the low carbon distributed Hydrogen Economy, we are delighted to see this collaboration with Peel Environmental, who have 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.”

He added: “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 minimises 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.”

David Ryan, chief executive of PowerHouse Energy, said: “This contractual agreement represents a substantial commitment from Peel L&P to the wider deployment of DMG Energy Recovery Technology in the UK.

Technology can handle unrecyclable plastic

“Their commitment to commercial and funding engagement is an important step for PHE.

“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, their expertise and their blue-chip counterparties committed to plastic recycling and hydrogen usage enable us to look forward to successful delivery of the projects under this contract and beyond.”

Peel Environmental will provide real estate and infrastructure support, Waste2Tricity is the developer and PowerHouse Energy is the technology and engineering services provider.

The partnership is due to submit a planning application for the first site – at Peel Environmental’s Protos site near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire – in the coming weeks.

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.