Tuesday, October 06, 2009

British Wheat Surplus Consumed to Make Bioethanol.

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.

Related Reading.
"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


Yorkshireminer said...

There are times when I think that the British Government should be all taken outside and shot. What are they thinking about it is a sort of musical energy chairs, where do they think the fertilizer comes from to put on the ground to produce the wheat mainly from natural gas which Britain will now be importing in greater and greater quantities you get an energy deficit when you convert the natural gas too fertilizer another when you convert it in to wheat another when you convert it into ethanol. plus the energy cost of building the infrastructure and transporting the different products a minimum of three times. Common sense should tell you that the most efficient use of wheat is for eating it is what you grow it for and you can get all the transport and more with out the energy losses by using compressed natural gas, without any of the intermediate steps. Tall lampposts and short ropes is the best solution to this form of idiocy.

Deep regards


Professor Chris Rhodes said...

Hi Dave,

Yes, it's a bloody ridiculous idea! Not sure I'd string them all up - the bankers yes!!

Did you enjoy my novel, incidentally?

Deep Regards,