A £400m bioethanol plant built in the expectation of a UK market that failed to materialise is to close, with its management partly blaming government energy policy. The closure, announced on Thursday, of Vivergo Fuels’ Hull plant and nearby head office affects 150 jobs – but the operation supports some 3,000 jobs indirectly, mainly in agriculture, and contributes £600m annually to the UK economy. The plant, which suspended operations last December, is the UK’s largest and Europe’s second-largest producer of bioethanol, a low-carbon renewable transport fuel blended with petrol. Vivergo could produce up to 420m litres a year of bioethanol from 1.1m tonnes of feed wheat, sourced from 900 farms in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. It is also the UK’s largest production site for animal feed. Mark Chesworth, Vivergo’s managing director, said the government’s “lack of pace over the past decade” to introduce E10 – a mix of petrol with 10 per cent bioethanol “has undermined our ability to operate”.
FT 6th Sept 2018 read more »