European producer announces plant restart

By Erin Voegele | August 16, 2012

European ethanol producer Ensus Ltd. has announced it will restart its 400 MMly (106 MMgy) plant in Teesside, U.K. The plant began operations in January 2010, but has been idle for the past 15 months. The facility is Europe’s largest wheat ethanol plant.

In a release announcing the restart, Ensus said that several factors have worked to improve market conditions, enabling the plant to be brought back online. One factor cited by the company is action taken by the European Union’s Customs Code Committee to close loopholes in the tariff system that enabled imports of U.S. product to distort the market. “This, together with the ending of U.S. taxpayer subsidies for ethanol, has been a major factor in the improvement of market conditions and Ensus is confident in its plans for restart,” said the company in a statement.

Work to restart plant operations is already underway. Ensus said that engineering and maintenance activities have been taking place for several weeks. The facility is expected to be operating at capacity this fall.

“Everyone is absolutely delighted that things are moving in the right direction once again and we are in a position to restart,” said Peter Sopp, Ensus CEO. “It has been a very difficult time for everyone connected with the business and I would like to thank all our customers and suppliers for their patience and understanding and also to pay particular tribute to our workforce who have shown resilience, a magnificent attitude and are a credit to this area.”

In addition to producing ethanol, the plant also produces high protein animal feed, and captures carbon dioxide for use in the food and beverage industries.

According to data published by the European ethanol association ePURE, the Ensus plant accounts for more than 5 percent of Europe’s total installed ethanol capacity. The facility is one of the U.K.’s two installed ethanol plants, and represents approximately 85 percent of the production capacity within the country.