HULL, ENGLAND — The £350 million Vivergo ethanol plant in Hull, England officially opened on July 8. The plant is one of the U.K.’s biggest ethanol producers and single-source supplier of animal feed providing valuable commodities that the U.K. would usually import.

The Vivergo plant, a joint venture between AB Sugar, BP, and DuPont, will produce 420 million liters of ethanol a year at full capacity, equivalent to a third of the U.K.’s current demand. Vivergo will also produce 500,000 tonnes a year of protein-rich animal feed for the U.K. market, which is sufficient to feed around a fifth of the U.K.’s dairy herd. 

Using animal feed grade wheat, which previously would have been exported, Vivergo will become the U.K.’s biggest wheat buyer, taking 1.1 million tonnes a year. The company’s aspiration is to source its wheat primarily from farms in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Vivergo’s ethanol will offer greenhouse gas savings in excess of 50% over standard petrol; this is equivalent to the current emissions of more than 180,000 U.K. cars a year.

“Our business is a great example of sustainable economic growth, ensuring that valuable commodities such as ethanol and animal feed which ordinarily would have been imported are produced here in the U.K. We are proud to be the first major renewables investment to become operational in the Humber region, cementing its position as the U.K.’s Energy Estuary,” said David Richards, managing director of Vivergo. “We can already see the evidence of the sustained legacy our business will have locally, through the highly skilled jobs created and the £60m we’ve contributed so far though our supplier contracts. Our location right on the Humber is ideal; we’re at the heart of the U.K.’s wheat belt which offers some of the best yields in the world, and our channels for distributing the ethanol either by ship or by road to depots where it is blended with petrol, are second to none.”

The Vivergo plant is a brownfield re-development project built on a 25 acre site within the Saltend Chemicals Park near Hull. Now operational, the plant employs around 80 full-time people and is estimated to support over 1,000 additional jobs through its supply chain. 

“We are proud to be supporting this world-scale bioethanol facility in Hull,” said Dr. Mark Carr, group chief executive, AB Sugar. :This highly efficient plant will significantly contribute to the production of food and fuel in a sustainable way, the U.K.’s 2020 renewable energy targets and the UK economy and growth, particularly in the Humber area.”