East Anglian grain co-op Fengrain has thrown its hat into the bioethanol ring with the announcement of tie-up with Wessex Grain.

Fengrain markets some 800,000t of members’ grain a year and recently failed to merge with competitor Centaur Grain.

Now it is cosying up to Wessex, another co-op, whose subsidiary Green Spirit Fuels is leading the UK bioethanol charge by building a 330,000t a year plant at Henstridge in Somerset.

The two co-ops will not physically pool grain supplies or other resources, but will initially use one another for hedging trades, said Wessex chairman Charlie Goldsack.

“We have a similar outlook and philosophy,” he said.

But Malcolm Shepherd, managing director of Green Spirit, said Green Spirit hoped to build up to five bioethanol plants around the UK in coming years.

“Wessex and Fengrain are in an excellent position to supply a bioethanol plant. There will be more of these alliances with other regional players to form the core of a supply chain for Green Spirit.

“It gives us some of the benefits of being national without the same financing issues.”

Fengrain recently unveiled plans to add 5000t of storage to its Wimblington site.