UK developer Waste2Tricity (Image: NC)
The world’s first plant with the technology at the Protos site near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire is now at the planning approval stage and hopes are it will get underway in the new year. The £20million zero waste scheme sustains itself and will be able to take up to 35 tons of contaminated, unrecyclable plastic a day. Heat treatment in a sealed chamber and smart systems that determine the make-up of the gas as it passes through remove carbon and convert the waste into synthetic gas.
Hydrogen will be extracted for fuel, gas for generating electricity and heat available for local distribution. As well as 14 jobs, 100 more will be created during fabrication and construction.
The UK discards 3.3 million tons of plastic every year, with two-thirds sent for disposal overseas.
But with more countries shutting their doors, and more plastic now at risk of ending up in landfill or incinerated as current recycling systems fail to keep pace, hydrogen plants are being seen as a key solution as countries transition to low carbon economies.
But it has taken over decade for this project to get to this stage, an achievement down to innovative partnerships and much determination by entrepreneur Howard White, W2T’s founder whose vision has been “to turn off the plastic tap into the world’s oceans”.
“We turn waste into products for the future,” he explains.