Vivergo Fuels £350m Saltend biofuel plant in Hull restarts after four-month shut down

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 11 Apr 2018

A £350 million Hull-based biofuel facility has restarted production after a four month shutdown, but warns that government action is still needed to secure its future.

In November, the Vivergo Fuels plant at Saltend stopped production, putting 150 jobs at risk.

The firm took the decision to close the plant, blaming the decision on “government inaction on the future of renewable fuels and current market conditions”.

Vivergo has made the decision to reopen the plant as a result of the passing of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) through Parliament in March.

It is believed this may improve trading conditions as this will come into effect later this month, increasing the use of renewable fuels in transport from 4.75 per cent to a target of 9.75 per cent by 2020.

However, the managing director of Vivergo, Mark Chesworth, said much is still to be done, and is calling for E10 fuel - a more environmentally friendly blend of 10 per cent renewable bioethanol with petrol - to be introduced by government at the end of 2018.

He said: “We are pleased to see the RTFO pass through Parliament. This step, combined with the completion of maintenance work, has prompted us to recommence production after being offline over the winter period.

“However, there is much still to do if we are to sustain production and maintain this significant industry in the UK.”

Mark Chesworth, managing director at Vivergo Fuels

The MD says that it is “vital” that the new fuel is introduced to the UK market to secure the future of the Saltend plant, which was built in 2012.

Mr Chesworth said: “Whilst we value the recent government commitment to the RTFO, it is vital that we now progress this through the rapid introduction of E10 for three key reasons.

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“From an environmental perspective, it would provide an immediate impact on transport emissions to the benefit of the environment and public health.

“In terms of investment, our £350m plant was predicated on the UK government’s commitment to the Renewable Energy Directive enacted though to transport fuel to the RTFO, and anticipated the UK market would be twice what it is today by now.

Wheat is used to make bioethanol fuel at the plant

“Government inertia in developing legislation on this situation has further undermined confidence in renewables investment not least the further development of alternative new technologies.

“Vivergo Fuels represents one of the most significant investments in the north of England, providing substantial high quality employment in the region, both directly at Saltend and through the associated supply chain and British farming. E10 would provide greater stability for these jobs, skills and agriculture.”

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E10 fuel is commonly used across North America, Europe and Australasia and the firm, which has its head office in Hessle, said introducing it in the UK would be the carbon emissions savings equivalent to taking 700,000 cars off the road.

The plant is the largest in the UK and 150 skilled people work at the Saltend site and the office.



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