Hull firm's fuel plea to deliver certainty to farmers

The UK's biggest producer of bioethanol has pleaded with the Government to press ahead with introducing E10 fuel to cultivate an alternative domestic market for arable farmers.

Increased demand for bioethanol will allow farmers to sell their wheat in the UK.
Increased demand for bioethanol will allow farmers to sell their wheat in the UK.

Vivergo Fuels, which operates a £350m plant at Salt End near Hull, wants the ethanol blending ratio in petrol to be doubled, from its current level of five per cent to ten per cent.

This would create E10, a greener fuel that would provide a bigger market for British wheat grows domestically at a time of great uncertainty over the future of international trade.

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Mark Chesworth, managing director of Vivergo, said: “It is essential that the UK Government is supportive in terms of increasing the current bioethanol blending ratio in UK petrol, so that Vivergo Fuels and the wider industry can provide a long term, sustainable and secure domestic market for UK farmers.

“Increased demand for bioethanol will allow farmers to sell their wheat in the UK instead of exporting, increasing their earnings. This in turn will benefit the wider UK economy and support jobs throughout the supply chain, further boosting UK industry.”

Vivergo said it is boosting the fortunes of farmers to the value of £1m per month, compared to the smaller export value they would receive. The company, which opened in 2012, takes up to 100,000 tonnes of animal feed grade wheat each month to create its ethanol, which is then blended into petrol.

However, Vivergo believes it can play an even bigger role and that the introduction of E10 would boost the economy by supporting UK farmers and jobs, as well as helping to meet strict and legally-binding environmental targets.

Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers’ Union, has also called for the introduction of E10 to be accelerated.

Mr Raymond said: “The UK biofuels industry is incredibly beneficial to farmers across the country, as it adds value to grain and oilseeds for feed and fuel markets.

“The process ensures that animal-grade wheat is bought at a fair price, and the bi-product of animal feed creates a collaborative process that benefits both the farmers and the biofuels industry.”