The first sugar beet-fueled ethanol production facility has opened in eastern England near Norfolk. The opening of the plant operated by British Sugar was attended by Britain's Minister for Sustainable Food and Farming and Animal Health Lord Rooker. The plant has a capacity of 18.5 million gallons a year from locally grown sugar beets. The British government is planning a new regulation next spring that would require five percent of all retail fuels to be from renewable sources and this plant will be a step toward achieving this.
[Source: General Motors]
BIOETHANOL PLANT'S A SWEET SUCCESS
Today (22 November), Lord Rooker, Minister for Sustainable Food and Farming and Animal Health opened British Sugar's state of the art bioethanol production facilities at Wissington, Norfolk.
The plant is the first of its kind in the UK. It produces bioethanol from locally-grown sugar beet and has an annual production capacity of 70 million litres; made from 110,000 tonnes of sugar that is surplus to the needs of the food market.
On declaring the plant open, Lord Rooker said: "These production facilities represent the marrying-up of British Agriculture and British Engineering Technology."
Bioethanol is an environmentally-friendly, sustainable fuel source with the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 50-70%, compared to regular unleaded petrol. In March 2008, the Government will introduce the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) which states that 5% of all fuel to be sold on forecourts must be from renewable sources by 2010. The new plant at Wissington will contribute directly to reaching this target.
Jonathan Nash, Managing Director of Saab Great Britain, said: "Saab, as the only volume car manufacturer to offer an environmentally-friendly engine choice across its entire range, welcomes this exciting new initiative. Bioethanol has an important part to play in reducing CO2 emissions from road transport and it is great to see British Sugar sourcing crops locally and maximising efficiency across their facility - it's clear that they are at the forefront of sustainable bioethanol production in the UK."
Speaking at the opening British Sugar Group Chief Executive, Mark Carr, said: "We are delighted to take the UK lead in this exciting new industry," adding, "the Wissington bioethanol project clearly demonstrates our ability to identify and develop opportunities in markets where we can add value."