CropEnergies, parent company of Ensus, the biofuels plant in Wilton, Teeside, has announced that the facility is to ‘pause production’ from the end of next month due to difficult market conditions.
It cites a significant fall in ethanol prices in recent days as affecting its outlook for financial year 2018-19.
Commenting on the temporary closure, NFU crops board chairman Tom Bradshaw said: “This announcement is yet another blow for the UK grain industry, which has already been hit by the Vivergo closure.
“The current market conditions are extremely difficult and this announcement serves to highlight the need for policy that will support the renewable energy sector.
“The closure could also have knock-on implications for animal feed supplies and, at a time when livestock farmers are already suffering with feed shortages, could mean an increased reliance on imported animal feed protein.
“Biofuels have a big role to play in delivering a green Brexit and need to be more widely embraced. We continue to call on the government to fast-track the introduction of E10 petrol to the UK fuel mix.”
Mr Bradshaw said the closure would have a large impact on the internal dynamics of the UK wheat market as when both plants were at peak production, they could take two million tonnes of wheat per year. At times last year, feed wheat prices in the north were £10/t higher than elsewhere in the UK as a result of demand from the plants, he added.