The UK sugar business opened the first bioethanol production facility in the UK in 2007, which produces 70 million litres of bioethanol per year and is sited alongside its Wissington sugar factory.
AB Sugar has now joined forces with BP and DuPont to build and operate a world scale bioethanol facility in Hull. The Group has a 45% stake in a Joint Venture with BP (45%) and DuPont (10%), which operates as Vivergo Fuels Limited.
The plant is now under construction and is due to come on stream in 2012. It will produce around 420 million litres of bioethanol from wheat each year. This will help meet delivery of the UK’s forecast ethanol demand in 2012 required to meet the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation.
Biofuels offer the advantage that they have the potential to reduce overall GHG emissions from road transport because the plants from which they are produced absorb CO2 when they are grown. This offsets the CO2 released from the vehicle when the blended biofuel is used.
In addition, there are GHG emissions associated with the production of biofuels (e.g. fertilizers, pesticides, crop cultivation/harvesting, manufacture and transport of biofuels). Biofuels deliver GHG savings when all of these emissions are less than the corresponding emissions from the production of conventional gasoline/petrol and diesel from crude oil.
Bioethanol is produced by the fermentation of starch or sugars in a very similar way to the method used to produce beer and wine. Fermentation is followed by distillation to remove the water and impurities and produce a pure alcohol. Petrol containing up to 5% bioethanol can be used in any unleaded car on the road in the UK today. In the longer term, there is potential for all ordinary cars to use higher blends. Ford and Saab already supply models to the UK which will run on bioethanol / petrol blends up to 85% bioethanol (E85).
Find out more: Vivergo Fuels Limited >>