Isn\’t this just the greatest stupidity?

Vireol Ltd. plans to raise about 80 million pounds ($125 million) to invest in building a bioethanol plant in northeast England, gaining a foothold in a market that may be worth as much as 1.5 billion pounds by 2020.

The North Yorkshire-based company seeks to raise the money by the first quarter, looking at strategic and private-equity investors, as well as its current retail-investor base, Chief Executive Officer David Knibbs said in an interview in London.

The U.K. plans to get 10 percent of the energy used in road transportation from renewables such as bioethanol and biodiesel by 2020. Vehicles contribute as much as 21 percent to its total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the government.

“All investors and banks look for a strong lead from government and at the moment our biofuels target only runs to 2020, compared to 2037 for renewables under the Renewable Obligation regime,” said Knibbs. “We need more certainty.”

The greater certainty should be provided by shouting \”No! Fuck Off!\”.

This is for a wheat to ethanol plant, something even more stupid than corn to ethanol. And the business case rests entirely on legislative fiat, that the ethanol must be used.

Yet we now all (some have known for a long time, the Greens have only realised it recently) know that plants to fuel is a crazed lunacy.

So let us provide certainty to these investors.

No. Fuck off.

15 thoughts on “Isn\’t this just the greatest stupidity?”

  1. In due course this one can be mothballed as well like the Ensus plant on Teesside

    It does appear that chemical plants to convert wheat into ethanol need more subsidy

    Maybe this has something to do with the UK climate, much better to chop down rain forest and grow sugar cane, it’s the sun that wins it

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Oh FFS! Tell me people just aren-t this dumb?

    Why would you invest in a scheme which depends on an on-going government subsidy? One day sanity is going to strike and the tap from my wallet via the Treasury is going to be cut off. Where is this investment going to be then?

    And for crying out loud. If you are going to do this stupid thing, why do it this stupid way? At least try a kelp-to-ethanol scheme or something. It will produce the damn biofuel. It will not take any land out of food production. It will not use any resource we are presently using for much. It will not need any fossil-fuel-rich inputs such as fertilizer. And it will keep some miserable Scots busy which may be a disappointment to Britain-s heroin dealers, but will be better for the rest of us. Keep them north of Hadrian-s Wall for one thing.

  3. Can remember a piece written by a guy called Jerry Pournelle, way back in the early 70s, pointed out that the feedstock for biofuels would necessarily be crops with high energy content & amenable to mechanised cultivation. Which is another way of describing our main food crops grown on good agricultural land.
    He did point out another source. Slave labour production of lower energy crops on marginal land. Now where can we find the people to…Ah!

  4. the smart money from DuPont and BP is being dropped on cellulosic digestion using GM bugs – that way you can use farm waste, straw, wood pulp etc to feed it.

    There are however two massive problems even with this; the first is getting the heavy, bulky feedstock to the plant and prepared at a reasonable cost, the second is that as the demand for what is currently waste rises it moves from being something the farmer pays to to dispose of to something with economic value and this changes the cost base. This is exactly what’s been seen with bio-diesel refining using vegetable oil from takeaways, which has become in places a modest revenue stream for the chippy/Chinese as people compete to take it away.

  5. …the second is that as the demand for what is currently waste rises it moves from being something the farmer pays to to dispose of to something with economic value and this changes the cost base.

    I believe a similar thing happened with windmills. The profit margins of the windmill operators were based on the assumption that farmers would lease the land for next to nothing, given most of it is unusable anyway. The farmers, not being as stupid as they sound when they talk to each other, realised they should be charging full whack for the rent and enjoy the bulk of whatever profits can be made. So windmills end up suffering from the same effect as the coffee shops in Victoria Station, with the meatiest chunk of the profits going to the landowner.

  6. TheJollyGreenMan

    The rise of UKIP should be a warning for any investor who puts his money in the Green renewables industry. With some luck, and hard work, we might see them in power in Westminster before 2020.

    One theme that gets repeated by the Greenies is that we have legislation in place, with fines etc. for non-compliance, that mandates the move to renewables. A question I have that you may have the answer to Tim is: What are the size of these fines, and who do we pay them to? What happens if we, as a country, refuse to implement the law and at the same time refuse to pay the fine? Will the bailiff attach our non-existent aircraft carrier when it is in a foreign port and will our the Royal Navy not be in a position to tell the bailiffs to fuck-off?

  7. What happens if we, as a country, refuse to implement the law and at the same time refuse to pay the fine?

    We can look at the example of the French ban on British beef for which they were fined. As far as I know, the fine was roundly ignored.

  8. There was a good source of bioethanol in the 1970s – Brazilian sugar cane residue. I read one comment from someone who was in favour because “it made the exhaust smell like Grand Marnier”.
    Someone with two brain cells to rub together can see that using waste to replace oil is a good thing. Sadly the Greenies lack a third brain cell so they want us to replace oil from food crops since we don’t have sugar cane waste in Britain.

  9. Sorry – obviously that should read “sugar cane and orange residue” My typing is too slow and I’m thinking about the next sentence but three.

  10. Oh, where to begin..

    1. This can be done marginally more sensibly by combining the ethanol plant with a starch plant and using the starch plant by-products to fuel the ethanol plant. The trouble is that those by-products are currently worth far more as animal feed. Plans have been submitted and then mothballed at wheat prices much, much lower than we have today.

    2. At today’s state of the art, the green argument simply does not wash. If you could run a plant on the fuel you made and still have enough to sell, then it might be interesting, but as it is the “energy in” to a wheat to ethanol plant is still considerably more than “energy out”

    3. The only wheat to energy ethanol plant we have in the UK still running as actually now processing corn as well, due to the silly price of wheat at the moment

    4. When a company like BP invests in an ethanol plant, it is nothing more than a vanity project. Profits mean far less to them than a lovely green energy source they can point people at to prove how much they love the planet. (whatever happened to all those electronic signs on BP stations telling us how much solar energy the site was running on?) They will run the Vivergo plant for as long as it suits them for marketing purposes. Dupont will use it as a pilot plant and learn how to do it better next time. AB Agri have a nice outlet for their wheat via another JV and are currently raking it in by selling the animal feed by-products.

    5. The next UK wheat crop is going to be a disaster in volume terms, at least 2 million tonnes less than ‘normal’ All the wheat needed for UK ethanol will need to be imported. More expense, and another nail in the green coffin.

    So all in all, another UK wheat to ethanol plant seems like madness. Why not buy Ensus, a ready made plant that the current owners would love to unload to the right mug? There must be other reasons for this being built but I’m buggered if I can work out what they are.

  11. I have often superficially evaluated biofuel technologies in my day job. The one thing that always stands out, is what happens if one of the clever new ideas actually works?

    No government is going to continue to subsidize a third rate technology with as many disadvantages as Ethanol / Biodiesel, when a greener and much cheaper one is available.

    Funnily enough, one company with a great new technology for harvesting algae, found that their clever ideas could be used to clean fracking water, and are now going to make a fortune from the sector they were aiming to eliminate.

  12. When a company like BP invests in an ethanol plant, it is nothing more than a vanity project. Profits mean far less to them than a lovely green energy source they can point people at to prove how much they love the planet.

    Correct!

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