From easyJet to Easy Power: Airline pioneer Stelios in talks to turn household rubbish into energy
- Easy Power International was set up last month by a group of businessmen
- Stelios Haji-Ioannou is in talks about licensing his ‘easy’ brand to the company
- Easy Power turns household rubbish into ‘clean’ power
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is in talks to seal a blockbuster move into green energy by backing a company that turns household rubbish into ‘clean’ power.
City sources said the billionaire founder of budget airline easyJet is in talks with a group of entrepreneurs about licensing his ‘easy’ brand to a company set up as Easy Power International.
The talks come as Easy Power International looks set to be launched with the construction of plants that have the technology to convert waste to clean energy without creating toxic emissions.
Clean break: Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s easyPower would eliminate toxic waste
The company was set up last month by a group of businessmen including Jason Ferrando, a director of easyMoney, a peer-to-peer lending platform where savers’ money is invested in loans secured on UK property.
Easy Power International plans to use a technique called pyrolysis to convert rubbish at high temperatures into clean fossil fuel-style gas. The gas can then be converted into electricity and high-quality liquid fuels.
Typically, it takes between 100million and 300million years for the waste decomposition process to happen naturally.
The Mail on Sunday understands that the entrepreneurs briefed Haji-Ioannou on how they can make the decomposition process happen in 60 seconds, producing fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, but limiting the toxic by-products.
In pyrolysis, waste is fed into a processing unit, where high temperatures cause it to decompose rapidly and the absence of oxygen means that at no point does any of the matter burn. This means that no toxic smoke is emitted into the atmosphere.
Most of the matter produced is gas, with some matter remaining as a solid black carbon residue. This high purity carbon can be removed and sold separately.
The gas is ‘cleaned’ ready for use in engines or for generating electricity.
Sources claimed that there are ‘zero’ emissions from creating power in this way and that it is in fact ‘carbon negative’, meaning it is sustainable as well as profitable – the electricity produced by the gas is classed as renewable energy.
In pyrolysis, no toxic smoke is emitted into the atmosphere
Waste from households, wood and by-products from construction, agriculture and many other areas can be processed in this way, the sources said. It is thought that once easy Power International has secured enough investment it will build the plants and provide the technology so that general household rubbish can be turned into fuel.
Haji-Ioannou’s move into the green energy industry comes as part of a burgeoning global social and political movement towards protecting the environment.
Some of Britain’s largest companies are now focusing on making sure their businesses are operating in a manner that is environmentally friendly, following the acceleration in global warming and climate change.
The boss of BP has even said that the FTSE 100 oil giant is looking to ‘decarbonise’ and plans to pump more cash into renewable energy sources.
Shell has also said it plans to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Haji-Ioannou, who lives in Monaco but was born in Greece, set up easyJet when he was 28 years old, with one flight route between Luton and Scotland. The budget airline has grown to become one of the largest carriers in Europe.
He floated the business in 2000 on the London Stock Exchange, making a multi-million pound fortune in the process.
He no longer runs easyJet, which is currently valued by stock market investors at £2.7billion, but his family investment vehicle retains a 34 per cent shareholding in the airline.
Haji-Ioannou is at loggerheads with the board over the management of the business, particularly the purchase of more than 100 aeroplanes from Airbus for £4.5billion.
He now runs easyGroup, which owns the ‘easy’ brand and licenses it to various ventures, including easyJet.
Some of the other ‘easy’ businesses include vehicle rental company easyCar, coffee shop firm easyCoffee and easyPet, which specialises in transporting dogs and cats from London to the French Riviera.
Haji-Ioannou declined to comment. Easy Power International did not return calls for comment.