A bioethanol plant at Wilton (originally the home of the I.C.I. Advanced Materials Centre, and now a science park for a range of companies with similar interests) will consume one tenth of the U.K.'s home-grown wheat crop which is above the national surplus. 450 Million litres of bioethanol will be produced annually from 1.2 million tonnes of wheat. Since the U.K. wheat harvest ranges between 12 million and close to 14 million tonnes, the U.K.'s wheat surplus amounts to between half a million and three million tonnes, which goes for export. The demand by this Ensus plant and another refinery of similar size being built in Hull by B.P. means that our wheat exports will be nil.
Indeed it may be necessary to import wheat given that the combined demand from these plants will be around 2.3 million tonnes of it.
As the effect of peak oil becomes evident and fuel prices first rise in the face of imminent actual fuel shortages, surely it makes sense to grow as much of our food at home as proves possible, which amounts to only 60% at present, the rest being imported, rather than turning a food crop over to fuel production. And in regard to the latter, if the two plants produce say 900 million litres of ethanol per year, which is the energy equivalent of 630 million litres of hydrocarbon fuel, or 500,000 tonnes of it, this is less than 1% of the U.K.'s current fuel demand as is currently met from crude oil.
"Hunger for biofuels will gobble up wheat surplus," By Robin Pagnamenta. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article6860936.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=1185799