Teesside bioethanol plant to reopen in early March

The Teesside bioethanol plant is to reopen at reduced capacity at the start of March.

German owner CropEnergies AG said it planned to initially run the factory at reduced capacity to supply orders from British customers.

Traders welcomed the news that this important home for UK wheat would reopen, but also cautioned that the level of planned production was unclear and the plant could equally run on imported maize, which is plentiful and competitive.

May 2019 London feed wheat futures gained slightly from the news yesterday (27 February), alongside gains associated with rises in other markets, but lost some of that momentum to close at £164.25/t, up £1.65/t on the previous day’s close. Midday today (28 February) saw trade stuck at that level.

See also: Wheat is £10/t cheaper to produce with no-till approach

CropEnergies said questions related to Brexit about customs for imports and exports to and from the UK need to be clarified immediately and that future customs regulations are of existential importance for the production site Wilton.

The company also warned that for continuous operation of its UK plant, the local British market for alternative fuels must be developed.

It wants to see a speedy introduction of Premium E10 (road fuel using 10% ethanol) which it says has has been overdue for years.

“Already today, climate-friendly Premium E10 is the standard fuel for the certification of new petrol engines in the EU,” said the company in its statement on the reopening.

“Currently, the British decarbonisation of transport is mainly based on biodiesel which, to a considerable degree, is produced from used cooking oils.

“A large part is imported from third countries, such as the People’s Republic of China where the guiding principle of waste reduction is not legally specified.”