A pioneering £150million residual waste to renewable gas facility is set to be established on the Teesworks site, it was announced today (17 May).
Circular Fuels Ltd will take non-recyclable residual waste from households and industry and convert it into renewable dimethyl ether (rDME), a safe, cost-effective and clean burning fuel. This renewable fuel behaves in the same way as LPG and can be stored in cylinders and used by those properties not connected to the UK’s national gas grid.
Properties that rely on LPG are not connected to the main gas network and are some of the hardest to reach in the UK’s efforts to decarbonise the energy sector. However, this new and innovative technology is treating waste as a valuable resource to tackle this problem.
During construction the plant will create more than 200 jobs, with more than 50 direct skilled roles and more in the supply chain coming when it begins its operations in 2024. When fully up and running, it will have the capacity to produce 50,000 tonnes of fuel per year.
The facility is earmarked for the Dorman Point area of Teesworks and will also be carbon capture ready so, when established, it has the potential to link into Net Zero Teesside that is being spearheaded by bp, and the wider CCUS infrastructure.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It’s fantastic to be able to welcome Circular Fuels Limited’s first commercial-scale rDME production plant on Teesworks.
“This is yet another ground-breaking investment into low carbon energy happening right here, right now, further demonstrating how we are leading the UK in the clean energy sector and driving forward the country’s net zero ambitions.
“We’re already home to schemes that are developing ways to decarbonise homes on the national gas grid, but innovative projects like this are vital to produce low-carbon fuel for the off-grid heating sector, which has traditionally been more difficult to target.
“And, of course, it will drive forward the creation of hundreds more well-paid, good-quality jobs for people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool and support our brilliant supply chain businesses.”
Circular Fuels Limited is backed and majority owned by SHV Energy and UGI International – two of the world’s biggest liquified petroleum gas (LPG) companies – and sustainable energy solutions firm KEW Technology, who is providing the high-efficiency and pressurised Advanced Conversion Technology used within the plant’s process.
“We are thrilled to announce Teesworks as the intended site for our first industrial-scale rDME production facility,” said Søren Jacobsen, Dimeta CEO and Circular Fuels Limited Director, “The strong strategic alignment between the Teesworks management team, Dimeta, and LPG industry stakeholders has been crucial to the plant development so far.
“Today there is an urgent need to bring rapid and affordable low carbon heating solutions to more than a million households and businesses in the UK that are not connected to the natural gas grid. rDME is an affordable drop-in fuel that can be safely blended into LPG and bio LPG with no change to existing infrastructure or used as a 100% replacement for other more polluting fuels. We will supply rDME at commercial scale from our Teesworks plant as a high-value and efficient alternative fuel for both individuals and businesses. The use of non-recyclable waste will reduce the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and enables off-grid heating customers to lower their greenhouse gas emissions.”
Cllr Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted to welcome this innovative, forward-thinking and environmentally positive company and scheme to the Teesworks site. To have a new purpose for unrecyclable residual waste, and to be able to make this source of energy available to off-grid, higher carbon-footprint homes, with hundreds of jobs being created to boot, is just fantastic.”
Jacob Young, MP for Redcar and Teesworks Board member, said: “Yet another excellent development for the Teesworks site, yet another step forward for green, low-carbon energy and yet another job announcement for local people.
“Circular Fuels is so-named for a very good reason. The company is able to recycle waste to produce a clean-burning replacement for LPG gas that can be stored in cylinders, presenting a low-carbon solution to homes not connected to the gas network.
“And it’s very telling that a company like Circular Fuels Ltd is choosing Teesworks for their first commercial-scale rDME production plant.
“The benefits of setting up business here are obvious and that’s why, as the world looks towards a Net Zero future, it’s Teesside that stands as the world’s first choice for ground-breaking green innovation and it’s Teesworks that continues to put Teesside on the map.”
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This is exactly the type of pioneering innovation that the North East of England is known for. By unleashing private investment into cutting-edge technology, we really can unlock a future of low-carbon fuel for the off-grid heating sector.
“Thanks to today’s massive commitment, we will soon see hundreds of high-quality jobs across the region, supporting UK supply chains, and helping us to secure more clean, affordable, home-grown energy for Britain.”