Hydrogen plan for Longford site advances with UK firms

Clondra in Co Longford. Photo: Mark Condren

John Mulligan

Plans for a major multi-million euro waste-to-hydrogen production facility in Co Longford have advanced, with two London-listed firms having inked an agreement to jointly develop the plant at a site beside the former Atlantic Mills site in the county.

They have also terminated a previous agreement that would have seen them jointly develop the facility in Co Tipperary.

The planned energy project at the Fisherstown Energy Park in Clondra, Co Longford, will use waste non-recyclable, mixed waste plastic to generate hydrogen. Its promoters have said it will be among the first plants of its kind in Europe.

The proposed facility turns the non-recyclable plastic into syngas, from which new products and energy can be produced.

An Irish unit of UK-based Hydrogen Utopia International has been granted a three-year option to buy a 25-year lease on the Longford site.

It paid an option premium to the owner of the land for the first 12 months of the option, and quarterly payments thereafter until the option expires.

The Fisherstown park already has an electrical substation and the hydrogen project can potentially use existing waste water treatment facilities that previously serviced Atlantic Mills, which manufactured denim.

The Atlantic Mills facility, owned by a Dutch firm, closed in 1999 with the loss of 180 jobs. The defunct factory and the adjacent land was reportedly bought in 2021 for €5m by the Mashup Group, the firm that owns the Schoolbooks.ie business.

Hydrogen Utopia International said on Tuesday that it has agreed payment and heads of terms with UK-listed Powerhouse Energy Group for the joint development of the Longford hydrogen energy project.

Powerhouse Energy is also paying Hydrogen Utopia a total of up to £400,000 in cash for having identified the Longford site and securing the lease option.

The midlands location was also selected due to the Government’s Just Transition Fund (JTF), a €169m fund that’s been established to benefit the midlands region following the closure of peat-fired electricity generating stations and the ending of commercial peat extraction. It was approved by the EU last year. The fund is earmarked to support a wide range of businesses, including SMEs and start-ups, as well as research and innovation, transfer of advanced technologies, tourism and affordable green energy.

"This deal enables us to jointly pioneer a waste plastic to hydrogen plant in an attractive EU jurisdiction with allocated JTF funding,” said Guy Peters, the executive chairman of Hydrogen Utopia.

“Utilising the skills, technological expertise and the relationships of both companies' teams shouldenable us to deliver a plant that will act as a circular economy showcase to the world,” he added.