Peel NRE – part of Peel L&P – has submitted a planning application to West Dunbartonshire Council for the UK’s second waste plastic to hydrogen facility.

The £20 million facility is to be based on the Rothesay Dock on the north bank of the River Clyde and will take non-recyclable plastics, destined for landfill, incineration or export overseas, and use them to create a local source of sustainable hydrogen. The hydrogen will be used as a clean fuel for buses, cars and HGVs, with plans for a linked hydrogen refuelling station on the site.

The 13,500 tonne facility will use pioneering technology developed by Powerhouse Energy Group plc, after plans for a similar facility at Peel NRE’s Protos site in Cheshire were approved in 2019.

“We’re a long way from removing all plastic from society and, while the priority should be on reducing, reusing and recycling what we can, there will still be some end of life plastics that need managing” said Richard Barker, Development Director at Peel NRE. “The Powerhouse technology not only enables us to deal with this material on our shores, it also produces hydrogen which can be used as a clean vehicle fuel, helping to reduce carbon emissions associated with diesel fuel and improve local air quality. As we head towards COP26 in Glasgow, this is a great example of how the UK is innovating in net zero and delivering pioneering technologies that can be used the world over.”

Tim Yeo, Chairman of Powerhouse Energy Group, added that the company welcomes the submission of the planning application for a second site for its recycling technology which will transform plastics and waste into clean energy.

“We hope this pioneering technology will play an important role in supporting the objective of both Holyrood and Westminster to make hydrogen a key element of Scotland’s decarbonisation strategy” Mr Yeo said. “A planned hydrogen refuelling station at this site will help bolster the region’s infrastructure and help accelerate the clean energy transition, improving our environment for future generations in the region”.

Zero Waste Scotland estimates that around 500,000 tonnes of waste plastic are produced in Scotland every year, with research undertaken by Anthesis, on behalf of Peel NRE, showing that around 300,000 tonnes are within the central belt of Scotland.

A planning application for the facility has been submitted to West Dunbartonshire Council following engagement with local stakeholders. A decision is expected in the Autumn. If approved, construction will take around 15 months to complete.

Peel NRE has signed a collaboration agreement with Powerhouse Energy Group to develop 11 waste plastic to hydrogen facilities across the UK over the next few years, with the option of exclusive rights for a total of 70 facilities.