UK's Ensus to restart biorefinery after 15-month shutdown

14 August 2012 14:24  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Ensus plans to restart its bioethanol plant in Wilton, UK, following a 15-month shutdown, the company announced on Tuesday.

Maintenance and engineering work has been taking place for several weeks, and the plant is expected to be at its full operating rate within the next two months.

The British biofuels company shut down its biorefinery – which has a capacity of over 400m litres/year – at the end of May 2011.

The temporary closure was attributed to poor market economics as a result of an inflow of E90 – 90% ethanol blended gasoline – which benefited from a loophole in EU legislation, making it very competitive compared to domestic European fuel ethanol.

Exacerbating this situation was that US ethanol was subsidised at the time, giving it more of a competitive edge.

However, the US subsidy – the volumetric ethanol excise tax credit – was discontinued in December 2011, while the EU closed the import loophole in March 2012, improving European market conditions.

These improved market conditions, plus considerable support from Ian Swales, MP for the Redcar constituency, have prompted Ensus to restart the plant.

“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,” said Peter Sopp, CEO of Ensus.

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.

“Everyone is absolutely delighted that things are moving in the right direction once again and we are in a position to restart.”

By: Sarah Trinder
+44 20 8652 3214

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