West Country grain trader Wessex Grain has announced a change at the top, as it launches its new biofuel company, Green Spirit Fuels Ltd.

Green Spirit is planning to develop a site next to Wessex Grain’s store in Henstridge, Somerset, into the UK’s first bio-ethanol plant.

Wessex’s chairman John Waltham is leaving his post to become a director of Green Spirit and will be replaced by Charlie Goldsack, a member of the board for 10 years.

Managing director Malcolm Shepherd is also heading up the new company.

He said: “The development of a bio-ethanol plant at Henstridge will provide a guaranteed market for the growers that we work with, both shareholders and suppliers.

“However, we are not losing sight of our core business selling grain to millers and animal feed manufacturers.”

Wessex currently markets about 600,000t of grain each year, but the new plant would add a further 340,000t requirement to that total.

It will be capable of producing 130m litres of bio-ethanol a year when operating at full tilt.