Plans approved for £20m plastic-to-hydrogen plant in West Dunbartonshire

It will be the second facility of its kind in the UK, following Peel NRE’s Protos site in Cheshire near Ellesmere Port

West Dunbartonshire Council has this week approved plans from Peel NRE – part of Peel L&P – to create a hydrogen production facility at Rothesay Dock on the north bank of the River Clyde.

The £20m, 13,500-tonne facility will create hydrogen from non-recyclable plastics that would otherwise end up in landfills or exported overseas. Zero Waste Scotland estimates that around 500,000 tonnes of waste plastic are produced in Scotland every year.

Peel NRE claims the plastic waste will be converted into clean hydrogen for use for HGVs, buses and cars, with plans also in place to add a co-located refuelling station at the site.

Peel NRE’s development director Richard Barker said: “This is a fantastic moment for West Dunbartonshire and the surrounding area. It shows how the UK is innovating when it comes to rolling out new net-zero technologies. The facility will address the dual challenge of both tackling our problem plastic whilst creating hydrogen, a sustainable fuel for future generations.

“Whilst the focus must remain on removing plastic from society, there are still end-of-life plastics that need managing. The £20m plant will play a pivotal role in making the best use of non-recyclable material, with the resulting hydrogen able to help cut carbon emissions from vehicles.”

It will be the second facility of its kind in the UK, following Peel NRE’s Protos site in Cheshire near Ellesmere Port. That facility is due to begin construction later this year.

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

Facilities unfolding

It has been a busy time for the approval of new hydrogen facilities in the UK.

Earlier this year, Equinor submitted plans for its 600MW hydrogen production facility in Hull to the Government, which will sit at the heart of Humber’s Zero Carbon Cluster project.

H2H Saltend is Equinor’s largest UK hydrogen project. It will be located within the Zero Carbon Humber Project, which is among the projects striving to develop the UK’s first net-zero industrial cluster. There, it is leading the production of a 600MW gas reformer that will produce ‘blue’ hydrogen – hydrogen made using natural gas, with most emissions from the process captured using man-made technologies.

Hydrogen produced by that facility will enable businesses at the Saltend Chemicals Park and the onsite Saltend Cogeneration Power Station to switch to a hydrogen blend, representing a 30% reduction in the Saltend Chemicals Park’s total current emissions. A demonstration is due to come online by 2026. An Equinor spokesperson told edie that around 95% of the emissions generated through hydrogen production at this facility will be captured.

Another major green hydrogen production project for the UK is also progressing, with the Port of Shoreham in West Sussex having granted H2 Green permission to develop a renewable energy hub.

Under the two-year agreement, H2, which is a subsidiary of energy developer and consultancy Getech, will be able to develop new onshore wind and solar power generation capacity as well as an electrolysis facility. There are already onshore wind and solar arrays at the port.

The new facilities will be used to produce green hydrogen which, in the first instance, will be used by the Port’s fleet of 12 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and 39 forklifts, which will be converted from diesel. Hydrogen production will then be expanded and refuelling made available to the 800 HGVs that use Shoreham Port daily on behalf of other organisations, as well as to port and coastal marine vessels. H2 Green states that it hopes to be producing 10-15 tonnes of hydrogen daily at this point.

Elsewhere, a consortium including The Port of Cromarty Firth and ScottishPower are assessing plans for up to 15 new offshore wind sites, to power a new electrolyser, for example. Separately, ScottishPower is planning to co-locate a 20MW electrolyser with its Whitelee onshore wind farm.

Also in Scotland, TotalEnergies has forged a consortium with Macquarie’s Green Investment Group and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group, aiming to create an industrial-scale green hydrogen plant at Orkney’s Flotta terminal.

As for England, BP is proposing a blue hydrogen production hub in Teesside, while Trafford Green Hydrogen subsidiary Carlton Power is planning an industrial-scale facility in Carrington.

Comments (1)

  1. Colin Matthews says:

    What happens to the carbon from these plastics as if it is not captured then this is just fossil hydrogen one step removed as the plastic raw materials are from oil? No explanation.

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