Bioethanol plant Vivergo has reopened following a four month shutdown but warned the Government needed to secure its future for the long term by rolling out E10 by the end of the year.
Bosses of the plant in Hull, East Yorkshire, which converts 1.1 million tonnes of feed wheat into bioethanol each year, accused the Government of stalling over the EU’s E10 initiative, which will see fuel producers use 10 per cent bioethanol in petrol by 2020 to cut carbon emissions.
Unleaded petrol currently contains about 5 per cent bioethanol.
E10 is a more environmentally friendly blend of 10 per cent renewable bioethanol with petrol which can lower emissions from vehicles. It 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.
Over the coming months, it is hoped conditions will improve as a result of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) being passed through Parliament in March.
This will come into effect later this month, increasing the use of renewable fuels in transport from 4.75 per cent to a target of 9.75 per cent by 2020.
Mark Chesworth, managing director of Vivergo Fuels, said: “We are pleased to see the RTFO pass through Parliament. This step, combined with the completion of maintenance work, has prompted us to recommence production after being offline over the winter period. However, there is much still to do if we are to sustain production and maintain this significant industry in the UK.
“In terms of investment, our £350m plant was predicated on the UK government’s commitment to the Renewable Energy Directive enacted through 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.”
Mr Chesworth added it was vital to see the ‘rapid introduction’ of E10 as it was also the most readily available environmentally friendly option for consumers to reduce the impact of transport emissions.
The restart of Vivergo’s plant is particularly welcome news for the agricultural community, as many farms in the region who supplied the plant were directly affected by the shutdown.
In addition to providing a market for their feed wheat which would have otherwise been exported at a lower price, Vivergo supplies farms in the UK with high-protein animal feed.