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£150m funding for novel waste-to-fuel plant in Tees Valley

Planning permission has been sought for a >£150m waste-to-fuel plant, to produce renewable and recycled carbon dimethyl ether (DME).

UK-first Waste-to-DME plant Set be located on Teesworks inland development Dorman Point, near Middlesborough (the UK’s largest and most connected industrial zone) Circular Fuel Ltd’s new waste-to-fuel plant would cover 14 acres and promises up to 300 new direct jobs. Planning permission has now been formally sought, and the plant aims to be operational in 2025.

Waste-to-fuel

Renewable and Recycled Carbon DME is a cost-effective and clean burning fuel that can help to decarbonise Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) industry and off-grid energy sectors. A gas at room temperature and pressure, DME is chemically similar in properties to LPG (propane & butane) but burns with no soot emissions.

Non-recyclable residual household, commercial and industrial waste will be converted into DME using KEW Technology’s advanced gasification process, averting volumes from incineration or landfill. Able to be produced from a wide range of feedstocks using existing technology, production of rDME has the potential to be rapidly scaled up.

Over 2 million homes and ‘hundreds of thousands’ of businesses use LPG or high carbon fuels, oil or coal, for heating. LPG suppliers can blend DME with LPG to reduce the carbon footprint of its fuel, or completely switch off-grid customers over to Renewable & Recycled Carbon DME, to transition rural areas to Net Zero.

Once operational, the new plant will have the capacity to produce over 50,000 tonnes of DME per year, which has the potential to decarbonise over five per cent of the UK’s LPG sector.

Tees Valley Industrial Cluster Plan

“We are at an exciting stage of bringing the first waste-to-DME plant in the UK to reality at Teesworks,” said Kamal Kalsi, Managing Director of Circular Fuels Limited. “There is an urgent need to provide affordable energy to those off-grid homes and businesses who need it most and have little to no other alternative and to enhance our national energy security as we seek to deliver net zero by 2050. Using this technology creates an affordable and secure low-carbon drop-in fuel that also enforces a more efficient utilization of the waste resource to target harder-to-decarbonise sectors and maximise GHG savings.”

The Mayor for Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, describes it as “another example of the area leading the UK's clean energy sector.”

Tees Valley Combined Authority, NEPIC and BP are collaborating on the industrial decarbonisation “Cluster Plan”, which sets out the roadmap to net zero for the whole Tees Valley industrial cluster. 

Covering over 40 industries across the region, all of which have contributed CO2 emissions and capture planning data to the project, the Cluster Plan identifies barriers and enablers to achieving net zero from CCS, hydrogen, renewable power, energy from waste, bio-fuels, and other circular economy industries and infrastructure. 

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