14 August 2012

Ensus Group: Europe’s largest bio-refinery to restart

Facility designed to convert more than 1 million tonnes of animal grade wheat into roughly equal amounts of fuel grade alcohol

Ensus is pleased to announce that it is restarting its £300 million bioethanol plant on Teesside – Europe’s largest bio-refinery – in late August, following a 15-month enforced shutdown.

After several months delay, the European Union’s Customs Code Committee has now acted to close the loophole in the tariff system that allowed imports of subsidised US product to distort the market. This, together with the ending of US taxpayer subsidies for ethanol, has been a major factor in the improvement of market conditions and Ensus is confident in its plans for a restart.

Ensus employs around 100 people directly who have been kept on full pay throughout the shutdown and also supports over 2,000 jobs in the wider supply chain.

General engineering and maintenance activities have been taking place for several weeks and it is expected that the plant, on the Wilton International site, will be at full rates of operation within the next 2 months.

Peter Sopp, Chief Executive Officer of Ensus, said: “Everyone is absolutely delighted that things are moving in the right direction once again and we are in a position to restart. It has been a very difficult time for everyone connected with the business and I would like to thank all our customers and suppliers for their patience and understanding and also to pay particular tribute to our workforce who have shown resilience, a magnificent attitude and are a credit to this area.”

Ensus will continue to play an important part in the greening of Britain’s road fuels and food supplies.

The Teesside bio-refinery is designed to convert more than 1 million tonnes of animal grade wheat into roughly equal amounts of fuel grade alcohol, high protein animal feed and carbon dioxide using a process of distillation and fermentation.

The ethanol is blended with petrol to create greener road fuel whilst UK and European farmers use the high protein wheat residue from the process as animal feed preventing the need for imports of high protein feeds from countries producing it in a less sustainable manner. Carbon dioxide from the process is used in the UK and European food and drinks industry.

Ensus, a start up company, began its operations in 2010. Its decision to invest at Wilton stimulated other significant investments by process industry companies in the area, most notably by Sembcorp, Vopak and Yara.

Mr Sopp added: “We are very grateful for the considerable support of our local MP Ian Swales and local MEP Fiona Hall in helping to resolve the political and regulatory issues in the UK and EU.”

He added: “It remains critical that the UK continues to support the use of high quality sustainable biofuels. The country urgently needs greener road fuels as part of its move towards a low carbon economy. Ensus is able to supply genuine environmentally sustainable ethanol to satisfy this need.”

Source: Ensus Group, press release, 2012-08-14.

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