Innovation

Waste-to-hydrogen plant completes key engineering definition stage

The UK’s first waste-to-hydrogen plant is coming closer to fruition after Peel L&P Environmental confirmed that it had completed the Front End Engineering Definition (FEED) stage for the proposed facility at the Protos Energy Park in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.

The new facility, which uses Distributed Modular Gasification (DMG) technology provided by Powerhouse Energy Group (PHE), will turn unrecyclable plastic products into an EcoSynthesis gas, which can be used to produce hydrogen and electricity.

CGI image of proposed waste-to-hydrogen facility in Ellesmere Port.
CGI image of proposed waste-to-hydrogen facility in Ellesmere Port.
The FEED phase was completed during lockdown, assessing all the design and engineering aspects of the proposed facility, as well as the total estimated project costs, standing at £20 million, which will make it easier for Peel to accurately price for the project.

The site is expected to have the capacity to process 35 tonnes of waste plastics per day, aiming to produce 3.8 megawatts of electricity (MWe) on site, to export 3.4MWe and to produce up to two tonnes of hydrogen per day from the site.

Planning permission for the site, which will be run by engineering services company Waste2Tricity, was granted in March 2020, with PHE to receive a one-off fee of £500,00 for granting Peel the exclusive rights to develop the DMG technology in the UK, as well as further annual licence fees of £500,000 for each DMG plant that Peel develops.

Construction is now expected to commence at the end of 2020 and Peel is in the process of applying for an environmental permit for the facility.

Partners in the project hope that the proposed facility will be but the first in a series of waste-to-hydrogen facilities across the UK, with PHE, Peel and Waste2Tricity signing a £130-million collaboration contract to open 11 sites across the UK in August 2019.

Peel has gone further and called for the UK to invest £7.5 billion in dealing with the plastic waste crisis over the next 10 years, setting up Plastic Parks to deal with unrecyclable end-of-life plastic.

Commenting on the completion of the FEED phase, Richard Barker, Director at Peel L&P Environmental, said: “This FEED phase is an important step forward in delivering this innovative technology at Protos. Working with Powerhouse Energy we’re creating a blueprint for this UK first plastic-to-hydrogen facility, with plans to roll out over 70 more across the UK. With hydrogen increasingly being seen as an important part of our journey to net zero the time is now.”

David Ryan, CEO of Powerhouse Energy, added: “I would like to congratulate Peel L&P on bringing the FEED phase for the DMG plant at Protos to a successful completion, especially during the lockdown period which is a significant achievement. Defining the application at Protos has provided further commercial and technical validation of our DMG technology. We are confident that the delivery of this first commercial plant will provide a community based distributed source of hydrogen to further the hydrogen economy in the UK.”

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