A new process will allow the production of hydrogen and electricity from unsorted, unwashed waste plastic
Spotted: Researchers at the University of Chester and Powerhouse Energy have developed a way to use plastic waste to heat homes.
The process takes unsorted, unwashed plastic and rapidly heats it to 1,000C. The heat causes the plastic to release hydrogen and other gases. The hydrogen is then trapped and can be compressed and used to power vehicle engines or to generate electricity. The process can generate more than 1 tonne of fuel-quality hydrogen gas and more than 58 MWh of exportable electricity per day. The plastic is also completely destroyed in the process.
The technology has been licensed to waste-to-energy company Waste2Tricity (W2T), which is developing a plant on a site near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire. W2T aims to eventually roll out plants in Southeast Asia, where hydrogen-fuelled buses are already in use.
The company plans to buy unrecyclable plastic waste to fuel the plant from countries where such waste often ends up in rivers and oceans.