Clean Planet Energy has secured funding from private equity firm Crossroads Real Estate for its flagship plastic-to-fuel plant in Teesside, North East England.
Currently under construction, this will be the first of 10 new ecoPlants that Crossroads Real Estate and Clean Planet Energy are jointly seeking to build and operate across the UK.
The new joint venture could see over £400m of new UK investment deployed for the future construction of these facilities. Potential sites have already been identified in Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire, Lancashire and South Wales. The company says additional locations and announcements will be made in the months ahead.
Clean Planet Energy’s ecoPlant is a recycling facility intended to process non-recyclable and hard-to-recycle waste plastics that would otherwise be sent to landfill. Each ecoPlant is designed to accept 20,000 tonnes of plastics each year and to convert this waste into ultra-low sulphur fuels to replace fossil fuels in the transport and heavy-machinery sectors. They will also produce petrochemical feedstocks, including naphtha, which can be used to make new plastic products without the need to use fossil-based feedstocks.
Clean Planet Energy’s ultra-low-sulphur diesel can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 75% compared to the use of traditional diesel, while the joint venture could also lead to over 200,000 tonnes of hard-to-recycle waste plastics being repurposed for use in the circular supply chain each year.
Data from 2021 shows that the UK still generates over two million tonnes of plastic waste each year, with well over 60% of this not suitable for recycling. In November 2022, the UK government’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee published a report focusing on accelerating the reduction of plastic waste, with advanced recycling identified as a key policy recommendation.
By developing new ecoPlants throughout the UK, Clean Planet Energy and Crossroads Real Estate are opening a route for traditionally non-recyclable plastic waste to be repurposed into sustainable and circular-economy products; thereby cutting plastic pollution, reducing the amount of waste entering UK landfill, and also lowering greenhouse gas emissions when the waste is converted into ultra-low-sulphur diesel and used as a low-carbon fuel replacement.
“At Crossroads, we are committed to green opportunities and impact investing as demonstrated already through our sustainable hotels strategy. We look forward to partnering with Clean Planet Energy to roll out ecoPlants across the UK, including the flagship ecoPlant already under construction in Teesside,” said David Gillerman, founding partner and CEO of Crossroads Real Estate.
“The negative impact of plastic waste on our environment, plus the challenges we face from excess carbon emissions, made the joint venture with Clean Planet Energy a very compelling opportunity. With this investment, we have the ability to make a significant environmental and social impact across the UK.”
Earlier this year, Clean Planet Energy announced a 10-year agreement with bp plc to offtake its circular products from its ecoPlants into the market. Each new ecoPlant will be able to process hard-to-recycle plastics in the UK; at their peak, the facilities should create over 750 direct new jobs, and potentially thousands of indirect jobs when the ecoPlants move from development into the construction and operation phases.