The 'Daily Mail' 11 July 2019 reports that single use plastic can now be turned into electricity and hydrogen, both important in a near-zero CO2 economy, it can be used on dirty or mixed plastic, and leaves no residue. The University of Chester, in partnership with PowerHouse Energy, has come up with the process and Waste2Tricity is the exclusive developer in the UK and South East Asia. They intend to stop plastic being dumped in rivers and oceans by making it valuable, paying $50 a tonne to be put in their kilns.
The process includes cutting the plastic into 5cm strips, the air is squeezed out, and heating it in a kiln at 1,000 degrees Centigrade which instantly melts and gasifies it. This syngas (synthetic gas similar to natural gas) has very low CO2 content and goes into a pressure swing absorption (PSA) which extracts hydrogen at two tonnes a day. The remainder of the gas is used to generate electricity in a gas engine. It is hoped that the patented technology will soon power the plant at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, 7,000 houses on the grid in a day, and 7,000 hydrogen cars in two weeks. As excess energy from solar and wind turbines will have to be stored for peak use and for night time use, hydrogen is an instant way of providing such energy on demand, and the more the better. PowerHouse Energy say they have received a letter of support from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry about their DMG technology, which is the thermal conversion of carbonaceous organic materials, which is converting complex molecules into simple, safe, molecules. In the letter the Japanese Government Ministry said it considers the DMG technology has many environmental advantages, and views it as a major competitor within the low-cost production of hydrogen industry.
Professor Joe Howe, Executive Director of Thornton Energy Research Institute at the University of Chester said: “We are extremely excited to be hosting the prototype demonstrator here at the University of Chester. The technology converts all plastic waste into high quality, low carbon hydrogen syngas which can then be used to power gas engines. A by-product of this process is electricity, meaning waste plastic can not only fuel cars but can also keep the lights on at home. Surely the world must wake up to this technology. It will make waste plastic valuable with it being able to power the world's towns and cities, and most importantly, it can help clean up our oceans of waste plastic now.”