A champion of the energy estuary

A champion of the energy estuary

At the heart of the Humber’s ‘energy estuary’, Vivergo Fuels is not only a major contributor to the regional and wider UK economy but is significantly reducing transport emission levels.

At the heart of the Humber’s ‘energy estuary’, Vivergo Fuels is not only a major contributor to the regional and wider UK economy but is significantly reducing transport emission levels. Vivergo Fuels was established in 2007 and has grown into one of the UK and Europe’s largest producers of protein rich animal feed and bioethanol – a renewable transport fuel blended with petrol.

Occupying a major site on the Saltend Chemicals Park, Vivergo represents a £350m investment into the Humber region and wider UK economy.

The Vivergo Fuels plant commenced production in 2013, and directly employs more than 100 highly-skilled people at its two sites in East Yorkshire. Vivergo, owned by AB Sugar and Dupont, produces 420 million litres of bioethanol a year – enough to meet half of the UK’s current demand. Importantly, the bioethanol produced by Vivergo Fuels is already blended seamlessly in the UK’s petrol pumps hundreds of thousands of times a day with its bioethanol offering greenhouse gas savings of more than 50 per cent against standard petrol production, the equivalent of taking 180,000 cars off the road. The plant also produces up to 450,000 tonnes of animal feed per year.

“At Vivergo Fuels, we produce sustainable and environmentally friendly feed and fuel. We take locally sourced animal feed-wheat that would normally be exported, and turn it into bioethanol and highly nutritious animal feed, benefitting the environment, the economy and the food chain,” explains Rick Taylor, Commercial Director of Vivergo Fuels.

Vivergo Fuels’s strategic location in Hull is a key reason for its success. “The Humber region has proved to be the ideal location for Vivergo Fuels’s world-scale bio-refinery and we are proud to be leading the advancement of biofuels here,” says Rick. “Our administrative head office is in Hessle which has excellent transport links. And although numerous sites were considered for our plant, Saltend Chemicals Park offered clear advantages.

“Firstly, it boasts an attractive combination of existing infrastructure and utilities, available land and a skilled workforce.

“It is also in close proximity to the UK’s wheat belt area; one of the highest yielding in the world, as well as offering combined heat and power technology, which supplies sufficient steam and power to our bio-refinery.

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“Finally, Saltend Chemical Park’s deep port location helps to optimise supply chain logistics, by providing us with easy access to both UK and European ports.” And the company is rightly proud of its location in Hull. “Vivergo Fuels is a champion for the Humber region, its economy and its aspiration to be the UK’s ‘energy estuary’”, explains Rick. “We are proud to employ a skilled workforce – recruiting many of our colleagues from the Humber region - and to date we have raised and donated in excess of £300,000 in support of local charity and community groups.”

During the construction and operational stages of its development Vivergo Fuels worked closely with Jobcentre Plus to offer training and employment opportunities to the local population.

Almost a dozen local apprentices worked on the construction site while 24 unemployed people were offered training opportunities through Jobcentre Plus, six of whom have gone on to secure permanent employment within the company in highly skilled positions. And Vivergo Fuels recently recruited two apprentices to work in its plant maintenance team.

At full production, Vivergo Fuels is the UK’s biggest single-source supplier of animal feed, providing enough protein to feed around 20 per cent of the UK dairy herd, the equivalent of feeding 340,000 cows per day. “We buy feed grade wheat direct from UK  - wheat and arable farmers – and supply high quality protein back to dairy farmers, with almost half the volume of wheat returned as animal feed.

“This has clear advantages for the agricultural sector, with our bioethanol manufacture boosting the fortunes of wheat farmers across the region to the value of £1m a month, as opposed to the smaller export value they could achieve.

“Vivergo Fuels provides a uniquely sustainable option for alternative energy production, efficiently converting UK feed-wheat into both bioethanol and animal feed.

“The sustainable, traceable and high quality protein produced replaces imports that historically have accounted for up to 80% of the protein needed for UK agriculture.

“And as the UK’s biggest wheat buyer, we offer a 365 day demand for local arable farmers – providing a new sales channel, often giving more competitive rates for their feed-wheat as opposed to the previous export of the product.

“We aim to source from local farms within a 50-mile radius; which has created a new market for animal feed grade wheat, and directly supports local farmers and agriculture in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.”