The announcement that the production of the next generation of
biofuels will begin in Britain in 2007 is good news for energy
supply, climate change mitigation and farming says the NFU.
Sugar Beet Harvesting
British Sugar and Associated British Foods announced yesterday
they will collaborate with BP and Du Pont to develop advanced biofuels
in the UK. Under the agreement the British Sugar bioethanol plant,
currently under construction in Wissington, Norfolk, will be converted
to the production of biobutanol. British Sugar has committed to
using locally grown sugar beet for the plant. The resulting biobutanol
will be blended with petrol in the UK.
The group will also carry out a joint feasibility study, which
could lead to cooperation in constructing a much larger facility
for biofuel production using cereals. If this happens, the NFU
estimates the plant could be using up to one million tons of wheat – a
third of what the UK exports annually – which would have
a huge impact on UK cereal prices and options.
Paul Temple, vice chairman of the NFU, said: “It’s
great news that these companies have chosen the UK to develop cutting
edge biofuel technology. We’ve been championing farming as
one of the answers to climate change and secure energy reserves
for some time now. At last it looks like there is real commitment
from big business to allow this fledgling industry to get off the
“This is excellent news for farming. Farmers want to contribute
here. Renewable energy from farmland provides a lot of answers
for the country. It helps the Government meet EU targets on renewables,
it helps to secure a reliable energy resource to power the country
and it helps to run the rural economy. There is no doubt it is
a great business opportunity and farming is a modern dynamic business
which wants to go places.”
Biobutanol offers various advantages over bioethanol which have
attracted this decision including:
- Lower vapour pressure and greater tolerance to water contamination
therefore easier to use in existing distribution networks.
- Can currently be blended up to 10% in EU gasoline with the
potential for increase. This compares to 5 % for bioethanol at
- It has energy content closer to petrol than bioethanol, it
therefore provides better fuel economy than bioethanol.
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