Vivergo Fuels has reopened its ethanol plant in the UK following a four-month shut-down period due to what it called unfavorable trading conditions driven in part by Government inaction on the future of renewable fuels and current market conditions.
The Vivergo Fuels plant in East Yorkshire is the UK’s largest, and Europe’s second-largest producer of bioethanol. The £350-million (US$482-million) plant can produce up to 420 million liters (111 million gallons US) of bioethanol. The bioethanol is made from 1.1 million tonnes of feed wheat, sourced from nearly 900 farms across the East Yorkshire region.
In March, Parliament passed the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). This will come into effect later this month, increasing the use of renewable fuels in transport from 4.75% to a target of 9.75% by 2020.
The bioethanol industry is now calling for the UK Government to introduce E10 fuel by the end of the year. E10 is commonly used across North America, Europe and Australasia; introducing it in the UK would be the carbon emissions savings equivalent to taking 700,000 cars off the road.
Whilst we value the recent government commitment to the RTFO, it is vital that we now progress this through the rapid introduction of E10 for three key reasons:
From an environmental perspective, it would provide an immediate impact on transport emissions to the benefit of the environment and public health. With new petrol vehicle registrations rising to 63% this year alone, petrol hybrid vehicles also increasing and fully electric vehicles still representing just 0.6% of sales, E10 represents the fastest and most cost-effective solution to decarbonize transport, which is currently the highest emitting sector of greenhouse gases in the UK.
In terms of investment, our £350 million plant was predicated on the UK government’s commitment to the Renewable Energy Directive enacted though to transport fuel to the RTFO, and anticipated the UK market would be twice what it is today by now. Government inertia in developing legislation on this situation has further undermined confidence in renewables investment not least the further development of alternative new technologies.
Vivergo Fuels represents one of the most significant investments in the north of England, providing substantial high quality employment in the region, both directly at Saltend and through the associated supply chain and British farming. E10 would provide greater stability for these jobs, skills and agriculture.—Mark Chesworth, Managing Director of Vivergo Fuels