Greenergy / Tesco / Morrisons - is there a problem with bio-ethanol fuels using UK ethanol from beet sugar ?
Kangaroo jumping cars, stalled, and costly oxygen sensors replaced in high spec cars at £300 a throw ... and petrol bought at Morrrisons and Tesco is being blamed ... maybe.. but it's an interesting tale.
Regular readers will know that Lord Patel highlighted the introduction of ethanol into road fuel on Wednesday, July 5 2006.....This pill is NOT sugar coated - EU / CAP reform kicks in on sugar growers .
This related to the plans of AB Foods (who own British Sugar) to shut its York and Allscott (near Telford) beet sugar plants at the end of this processing year 2006 / 7 , and consolidate processing at their remaining four sugar factories in East Anglia.
They would be investing £60m in newer and more efficient plant, said Colm McKay, head of agricultural operations, not including £20m to be invested in the Wissington bio - butanol plant with Du Pont. This plant will open in February 2007 and will manufacture 55,000 tonnes (70 million litres) of bioethanol each year from sugar beet.The plant already has forward contracts to supply Greenergy who already supply Tesco who sell a 5% bioethanol petrol at 185 petrol outlets in the South East."British Sugar issued a press release on 27th January 2006 when the £20Mn. Wissington plant construction was commenced, with local ex MP Baroness Gilllian Shepherd digging a sod - Stephen Ladyman, Transport Minister, said
"Last year the Government announcedthe Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation which will mean that by 2010, 5% of all the fuel sold on UK forecourts will have to come from a renewable source. I'm delighted that this announcement has helped give companies like British Sugar the confidence to invest in biofuels, and hope that others will shortly follow. This project is excellent news for the burgeoning UK biofuels industry - and ultimately for motorists, and the environment. "
Ford and Saab also showed off cars at the event (probablyincluding the Ford'1.8-litre FFV technology in the Coupé-Cabriolet concept, C-MAX and existing Focus bio-fuel which achieves CO2 emissions of 99.6g/km.that would meet the E85 fuel (85% ethanol requirment - see pic) and BBC reported in March about Morrisons opening bioethanol pumps at their supermarkets mentioning Ford and Saab cars.
It may be of interest that Wissington had filtration problems with their sugar production in 2002 - but it is unlikely .
Tesco announced their bio -ethanol green energy fuels which constitutes 5% of their fuel in 150 Southern outlets on 12/5/05 and stated that the bio-ethanol came from Brazil and was added by Greenergy.
Greenergy since then started supplying Morrisons from their Thames estuary site.
"The bio-ethanol is produced in Brazil from sugar cane and shipped to fuel supplier Greenergy’s plant on the Thames Estuary where it is blended and then delivered to Tesco forecourts."Today Greenergy .... "Our fuels are tested to the highest standards by independent inspectors before release to ensure they conform to our sales specification." (website) have published the following announcement......
Greenergy statement, 28 th February 2007
Greenergy is aware of the reports from drivers who are experiencing problems after filling up with fuel in the South East of England. We take quality very seriously and we are doing everything we possibly can to find out what the issue is and whether it is related to us. Over the last 3 years we have sold more than 8 billion litres of fuel into the UK market and have not had any problems. So far we have conducted extensive tests on the fuel supplied to Tesco and Morrisons. We have found it is fully compliant with BSEN 228 – the independent standard everyone works to. We are continuing our investigation and will update you as soon as we have more information.
BSI BS EN 228 (International equivalent EN 228:2004) Automotive fuels Unleaded petrol Requirements -- specifies requirements and test methods for marketed and delivered unleaded petrol. It is applicable to unleaded petrol for use in petrol engine vehicles designed to run on unleaded petrol it covers Gasoline, Motor vehicles, Unleaded gasoline, Automotive fuels, Liquid fuels, Fuels, Petrol engines, Internal combustion engines, Fuel pumps, Marking, Grades (quality), Chemical properties, Octane number, Physical properties of materials, Volatility, Antiknock ratings, Test methods, Trading standards, TSS. A typical low sulphur, unleaded fuel would show the characteristcs defined by the BS EN 228 standard can be seen here
This is the highly detailed Greenergy specification available on their website which will no doubt figure in discussions when the testing results are published tommorrow.
If there was a problem with ethanol volume or quality it would probably show as elevated Olefins % Vol Max 18.0 % Vol Max or Aromatics 35.0 % Vol Max.
UKPIA, the trade association representing the nine main oil refining companies operating in the UK has put out a press release which basically says nothing. "The problem is not thought to be widespread and we have no reports of quality issues with petrol or diesel supplied from UK refineries."
On the radio Mr Vandervell CEO of UKPIA said it seemd that there was "a rogue batch of fuel from somewhere in the Thames Estuary."
The bottom line seems to focus on problems either with quality or volume of ethanol from Greenergy.
It must be remembered that the more ethanol, the less fuel tax, the lower the cost of production and the greater the margin on sale to the retailer. However the switch over of source of ethanol from Brazil to UK manufacture has probably resulted in some problems.
If it was , you read it here first.
PS Cargill the giant US / worldwide food traders took a 25% interest in Greenergy in DEcember - website page down at present - Indy media has a story protesting that Tesco shouldn't deal with Greenergy end December 2006 here. because of oil plantations deforesting Sumatra etc., Two blogs have stories. Jon Worth and Big Biofuels