Tees

Wilton Ensus bioethanol plant production trial to start

Ensus Wilton Image copyright Ensus
Image caption Ensus employed about 100 people at its Wilton plant, that originally opened in 2009

Production at a biofuel plant that has been repeatedly mothballed is to be restarted on a trial basis.

Ensus stopped production at Wilton on Teesside in February 2015 blaming significantly reduced demand in Europe.

Commercial director Grant Pearson said, although the market had not picked up, government moves to increase the use of bioethanol in petrol could lead to increased demand.

Redcar MP Anna Turley said it was "a sign of confidence in the region".

'Rollercoaster ride'

The plant opened in 2009 but was mothballed in 2011 due to US competition and dwindling demand.

Production restarted in October 2012 after conditions improved but paused again in April 2013 because of rising energy costs and a poor harvest.

The facility was then taken over by German firm CropEnergies AG in July 2013 with production restarting the following October.

It stopped again at the beginning of last year.

At the time of the takeover Mr Pearson said it was good news after the firm's "rollercoaster ride".

The plant converts wheat into fuel grade alcohol, animal feed and carbon dioxide for the food and drinks industry and employs about 100 people.

The company expects to start the trial in July at the latest.

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