Bioethanol plant Vivergo reopens after four-month shut down

The Vivergo plant was closed in November, due to weak ethanol prices and a lack of policy certainty (Photo: Vivergo Fuels)
The Vivergo plant was closed in November, due to weak ethanol prices and a lack of policy certainty (Photo: Vivergo Fuels)

Bioethanol plant Vivergo has reopened after a four-month shut-down period following unfavourable trading conditions.

The UK's biggest bioethanol producer, which supports 900 farms, halted production at its East Yorkshire plant last year.

The company says trading conditions are part driven by "government inaction" on the future of renewable fuels and current market conditions.

Over the coming months, Vivergo says conditions may 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% to a target of 9.75% by 2020.

E10 fuel



The bioethanol industry is now calling for the Government to introduce E10 fuel by the end of the year.

E10 is a more environmentally friendly blend of 10% renewable bioethanol with petrol which can lower emissions from vehicles.

It is commonly used across North America, Europe and Australasia and introducing it in the UK would be the carbon emissions savings equivalent to taking 700,000 cars off the road.

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 that would have otherwise been exported at a lower price, Vivergo supplies farms in the UK with high-protein animal feed.

'Recommence'

Mark Chesworth, managing director of Vivergo Fuels, said the company is 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," Mr Chesworth said.

“However, there is much still to do if we are to sustain production and maintain this significant industry in the UK.

“Whilst we value the recent government commitment to the RTFO, it is vital that we now progress this through the rapid introduction of E10."