PEEL NRE, part of Peel L&P, is planning to develop a waste plastic to hydrogen facility in Scotland.

The £20m facility, at Rothesay Dock on the north bank of the River Clyde, West Dunbartonshire, 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 be the second in the UK to 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.

The proposals will replace an existing planning consent on the site for a recycling centre and anaerobic digestion facility.

Richard Barker, director at Peel NRE, said: “We see a great opportunity to develop this leading-edge treatment technology which will help efforts to create a ‘Green Clydeside’ by using end of life plastic to produce a clean vehicle fuel.

“We are also looking to create a fuelling station to serve the new generation of hydrogen vehicles that will help reduce emissions and meet climate change targets.”

He said: “Local councils are leading the way and just this year Glasgow Council ordered 19 hydrogen powered bin lorries, the largest such fleet in the world. This facility will convert plastic into hydrogen, a clean fuel that produces no emissions at the point of use, helping to improve local air quality.

“By co-locating a refuelling station, we can help to kick start the infrastructure needed to support the rollout of hydrogen vehicles which will be an important part of our journey to net zero.” 

Tim Yeo, executive chairman of Powerhouse Energy said: “We are delighted Powerhouse technology is to be deployed in Scotland, helping the region improve air quality and provide a solution to end of life plastic.

“This new facility will play an important role in supporting the Government’s objective to make hydrogen a key element of Scotland’s decarbonisation strategy.  We welcome plans to co-locate a re-fuelling station at the site which will help increase uptake of hydrogen fuel in the region and add to Scotland’s growing hydrogen economy.

“All eyes are on Scotland ahead of the important COP26 meeting in Glasgow later this year, so we are delighted our pioneering, clean energy technology will help put Scotland on the path to net zero”.   

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. 

In the coming months, Peel NRE will be consulting with the local community and stakeholders around the North Clyde site, ahead of submitting a planning application to West Dunbartonshire Council later this year. 

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.