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Times Online: New £200m biofuel plant planned for Hull

BP and Associated British Foods team up for ‘world-scale’ project that will produce 420,000 litres of biofuel a year

June 26, 2007
Steve Hawkes

BP and Associated British Foods have announced a £200 million alliance to build one of the world’s biggest biofuel plants in the UK.

Under plans revealed today the facility, to be built in Saltend, Hull, will produce 420 million litres of bioethanol a year from low-grade UK wheat feedstock.

ABF, home to British Sugar and the fashion chain Primark, said that the environmental benefit of the plant would be the equivalent of taking a third of a million cars off Britain’s roads per year.

The plant will be commissioned in two years’ time and be a “major step forward” in helping the UK meet EU targets for five per cent of petrol to come from green fuel by 2010.

John Bason, ABF finance director, said: “This is going to be one of the biggest bioethanol plants in the world and certainly in Europe.”

The plans come two days after Jeroen van der Veer, Shell’s chief executive, warned that renewable energy was not the “silver bullet” to the world’s energy problems and called for greater investment in efficiency to reduce wastage at coal power plants.

British Sugar has already built the UK’s first biofuel plant in Wissington, Norfolk, and production is due to begin next month, using sugar beet as a feedstock.

BP and ABF are taking a 45 per cent share in the Saltend project with DuPont, the US conglomerate, holding the remaining 10 per cent stake.

Up to 85 jobs are expected to be created at the plant, which will located next to BP’s existing site in the town, the hub of its global chemicals business.

BP said that it would also be looking into the feasibility of converting production at the new plant to biobutanol, a higher-grade biofuel.

Mr Bason insisted that the project was unlikely to push up food prices despite the huge demand for wheat.

He said: “It will have a very limited impact. The UK currently generates a surplus of wheat and we will be using low-grade feedstock typically used as animal feed.”

Iain Conn, BP’s new refining and marketing chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be announcing, subject to the necessary approvals, the construction of a world scale bioethanol plant in Hull with our partners.”

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/industrials/article1987329.ece

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