PE-backed recycling start-up seeks £100m to develop waste processing plant

A Leeds start-up which has developed an innovative way to convert non-recyclable plastic and bio waste into new plastics and low-carbon fuels is seeking to raise £100m to build its first plant at a site in Humber.

Terrae Novo has already raised £7m from Traditum Private Equity to demonstrate its process and has gained planning permission on the former BP site at Saltend, near Hull.

Ultimately it aims to establish a network of plants around the UK and Europe.

Terrae Novo’s process uses plastic waste that cannot be recycled using existing processes and has to be either sent to landfill or burnt in energy from waste plants, which are proving to be inefficient and contribute to global warming.

Using the Terrae Novo process, the waste is made into synthetic gas or ‘syngas’ and can then be broken down into its original hydrocarbon molecules.

Therefore it can be used to create aviation or road transport fuel with a much lower carbon footprint than conventional fossil fuels.

However, even greater environmental benefits can be achieved by using it to create the feedstock for new plastic products.

Established in 2019, Terrae Novo is led by Jason Woods who previously held senior roles in energy and chemical companies including Drax Power, Vattenfall and INEOS.

His team have spent two years working with Traditum to further develop the process and draw up an investment proposal to put it into production.

The new plant, situated within the Humber Freeport area, would process around 60,000 tonnes of waste a year and create 25 local jobs with more in the supply chain.

It would also generate promising returns for investors, with the risks underwritten by insurance. Terrae Novo has appointed EY to lead the fundraising.

Woods said: “We believe our process has the potential to disrupt the traditional waste to landfill and energy markets, and achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions.

“It also addresses the need to find new sources of recycled fuel and limit the use of food crops, a policy already adopted by the EU and some other countries.

“Thanks to Traditum’s support, we are now ready to start production. Once the first site is up and running, our aim is to roll it out on a global scale.”

Trevor Sherlock, of Traditum, added: “Terrae Novo’s ground-breaking process tackles a number of key issues – how to deal with plastic waste, reduce carbon use and support our national energy requirements.

“At the same time it is commercially viable and offers excellent potential returns on investment.

“This shows the positive role that business can play in addressing the big challenges facing society, by encouraging investors, scientists and innovators to work together to find solutions.”

Paul Johnson, of Mills and Reeve, provided legal advice to Traditum while Richard Wilson at RSM provided tax advice to the company.

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