The 350 million pound Vivergo bioethanol plant, a joint venture between BP plc (BP - Free Report) , AB Sugar and DuPont, has commenced operations at Hull in eastern England.
Built on a 25 acre site, the Vivergo plant is a brownfield re-development project within the Saltend Chemicals Park near Hull. The plant is one of Europe's largest biorefineries, capable of meeting about a third of Britain's bioethanol demand.
The plant is intended to convert 1.1 million tons of animal feed wheat each year into 420 million litres of bioethanol and produce 500,000 tons of protein-rich animal feed for the U.K. market.
Biorefining breaks down the starch in wheat to sugars. The sugar is then fermented into alcohol through a process comparable to that used in a whisky distillery. The bioethanol thus generated can be added to petrol to make it a lower-carbon transport fuel.
The majority of the wheat for use as feed in Vivergo is likely to be sourced from the farms in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
The bioethanol produced at the Vivergo plant will save more than 50% of the greenhouse gas emissions that come from standard petrol and is equal to the emission of over 180,000 British cars a year.
By 2020, the European Union targets using 10% of all fuels for transportation from renewable sources.
The application of biofuels is under examination, as some are believed to displace food production to new areas, forcing forest clearance, discharging large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and affecting the climate even more.
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