The Hydrogen Stream: Project to produce hydrogen from waste plastic takes shape in the UK


Peel NRE, part of UK-based Peel L&P, has received approval from the West Dunbartonshire Council in the United Kingdom for its planned GBP 20 million ($24.8 million) facility in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, that will turn waste plastic into hydrogen. The plant will be the second of its kind in the UK. The 13,500-ton facility will use Powerhouse Energy’s technology to produce hydrogen from non-recyclable plastics destined for landfill, incineration or export overseas. “The hydrogen will be used as a clean fuel for heavy good vehicles, buses and cars, with plans for a linked hydrogen refueling station on the site,” said Peel L&P. Peel NRE signed a collaboration agreement with Powerhouse Energy Group to develop 11 plastic-to-hydrogen facilities across the UK over the next few years. The first project in Cheshire, North West England, should begin construction this year. The company did not clarify the timing for this second project in Scotland. 

Plug Power revealed plans to build a 35-ton-per-day green hydrogen generation plant at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges in Belgium. The provider of turnkey hydrogen solutions signed a 30-year concession agreement. “Plug plans to erect a 100-megawatt green hydrogen plant, using its own electrolyzer and liquefaction technology, on 28 acres of land leased under the agreement,” the company said. Construction of the plant will begin upon completion of the permitting process, anticipated in late 2023. Initial production of green hydrogen is expected in late 2024, and plant commissioning is set for 2025. The Port of Antwerp-Bruges provides transportation connections to Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, the UK and France. “The site location provides the opportunity for a ready supply of electricity from on-site and site-adjacent wind turbines generating dozens of megawatts, with an electric interconnection point less than a mile away,” the statement reads. Plug Power and Renault will also provide fuel cell vans to decarbonize the logistic flows of the port. 

University of Cambridge and Imperial College London researchers have created photoelectrochemical (PEC) devices that mimick the photosynthesis of plant leaves to produce hydrogen fuels. These devices use bismuth oxyiodide (BiOI), a non-toxic semiconductor, instead of perovskites. Solar fuel applications do not usually use BiOI due to its poor stability in water. “Researchers found a way to increase the stability of these artificial leaf devices by inserting BiOI between two oxide layers. The robust oxide-based device structure was further coated with a water-repellent graphite paste, which prevented moisture infiltration. This prolonged the stability of the bismuth oxyiodide light-absorbing pixels from minutes to a couple of months, including the time the devices were left in storage,” stated the researchers. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Materials, demonstrate that the activity towards proton and CO2 reduction is, in this device, mainly limited by catalyst degradation. The British team also found that devices comprising multiple light-harvesting areas, called pixels, showed a higher performance over devices with a single larger pixel of the same total size. “Even if some pixels are faulty, we were able to disconnect them, so they don’t affect the rest. This meant we could sustain the performance of the small pixels on a larger area,” commented Virgil Andrei, a co-lead author from the Department of Chemistry in Cambridge. 

Terrestrial Energy, a UK-based thermal and electric power technology company, has signed an agreement with US ammonia production technology company KBR to investigate the application of zero-emission thermal energy for hydrogen and ammonia production.

Wood Mackenzie said that potential low-carbon hydrogen demand from the global refining sector could reach 50 million tons per annum (Mtpa) by 2050. According to the study, around 40 Mtpa would be needed to replace fossil fuels in combustion applications to generate heat and steam.

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Worley, Voar and Wood Mackenzie said in a report that Scotland could export hydrogen to international markets. The analysts mentioned the blue hydrogen Acorn Hydrogen Project and the green hydrogen opportunities offered by the Cerulean Winds Project in Shetland.

Hydrogen Systems, a Saudi Arabia-based hydrogen solutions company, and US specialty gas compression systems manufacturer PDC Machines signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to create various hydrogen infrastructure solutions in the region.

Statkraft, the Norwegian state-owned hydropower company, has announced it will supply renewable electricity to H2 Green Steel’s operations in Boden, Sweden, under a power purchase agreement covering 2026-2032.

Eni, the Italian oil and gas company, has inaugurated in Mestre, Venice, the first hydrogen refueling station open to the public in an urban area in Italy. The system has two dispensing points with a capacity of over 100 kilograms per day, which can refuel vehicles in about five minutes.

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