UK’s first bioethanol plant goes online

Locally-grown sugar beet will provide the feedstock for the UK's first bioethanol plant, officially opened in Norfolk this week.

The plant is located at Wissington, near King’s Lynn, and is owned and operated by British Sugar.

It will produce 70 million litres of bioethanol annually from 110,000 tonnes of beet.

The sugar factory’s combined heat and power plant also provides energy for the bioethanol plant ensuring that bioethanol produced delivers 60% lifecycle carbon savings compared with ordinary petrol.

Food and Farming Minister Jeff Rooker opened the plant on Thursday, November 22 when he welcomed the expansion of the environmental industries sector.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge facing society today,” said Lord Rooker.

“But it is a challenge we can tackle by using the skills and innovation that are prevalent in the UK – this groundbreaking plant is a good example of this.

“Sustainable biofuels can play an important role in reducing our carbon footprint and I am pleased to see the UK is leading the way in promoting sustainable biofuel production.”

The Government believes that biofuels will make an important contribution to tackling climate change.

According to Defra figures, a 5% biofuel penetration would save the UK around 0.7 – 0.8 million tonnes of carbon per annum, or about 0.4% of the country’s total emissions.

Looking forward, advances in technology could see biofuels achieving higher levels of carbon savings. If the EU targets for 2020 are met, carbon savings could approach 7% or 8% of emissions from road transport.

Sam Bond

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