The Process

1. We will use 1.1m tonnes of feed grade wheat (commonly used to feed animals) sourced from local farmers across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire every single year, providing a sustainable new market for arable farmers in Yorkshire and The Humber.

2. Our £350m plant converts the feed wheat – with no waste – into bioethanol and animal feed. We're one of the largest producers of bioethanol in Europe and the largest single source supplier of animal feed in the UK.

3. We use the protein in the feed wheat to produce 500,000 tonnes of protein rich animal feed. This provides the protein required for 340,000 dairy cows every day!

4. We use the starch in the feed wheat to produce 420 million litres of bioethanol each year. This is blended with conventional petrol to make a greener, more sustainable transport fuel.

5. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted when the biofuel is burnt in a vehicle is offset by the CO2 absorbed during the growing of the wheat crop.

Our bioethanol offers GHG savings 50%+ over standard petrol - the equivalent of removing 180,000 cars from the road.

Locally Sourced
Wheat

Our location in the heart of the UK's wheat growing belt, which is one of the highest yielding in the world, offers us easy access to the 1.1m tonnes of feed-wheat we'll need annually.  We are committed to sourcing our wheat from local farmers in the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire area.

We use 'feed' grade wheat which is widely grown in the UK and is most commonly used to feed animals. This is different to 'milling' wheat which is used in bread making and other core food products. This lower grade feed wheat is ideal for fermentation due to its high starch content. 60% of the wheat we process is starch and that is used to produce the bioethanol. The remaining 40% is protein and that is converted into animal feed.  This type of wheat is widely grown in the area around the Vivergo plant, ensuring that we should be able to source our wheat from within a 50 mile radius.

On average, the UK produces approx. 14 – 16 million tonnes of wheat per annum of which up to 2.5-3 MT is exported to Holland and the Iberian Peninsula. Vivergo Fuels makes use of some of this surplus and gives half back to UK agriculture in a form that has more protein and which is more appropriate to the needs of the farmer.

Currently, up to 80% of the protein needed for EU agriculture is imported and the Vivergo products will help to reduce this. Our animal feed will provide the protein required to feed 340,000 cows every day equating to approaching 20% of the UK dairy herd.

Vivergo has chosen to work with Frontier Agriculture as our sole wheat supplier and we feel confident that our demand can be met from UK sources. Frontier sources around 1.1 million tonnes of feed wheat for our production process each year - making us the biggest single tip point for wheat in the UK.

If you are interested in supplying wheat to Vivergo, please visit humbergold.

Our Plant

Our plant covers an area the size of 12 World Cup football pitches and will produce the amount of bioethanol equivalent to 1 billion bottles of spirits every single year.

Our £350m biorefinery, based at Saltend near Hull, uses 1.1million tonnes of feed-grade wheat to produce 420 million litres of bioethanol and 500,000 tonnes of animal feed per year.  This makes us the largest bioethanol producer in the UK and one of the biggest in Europe.  We are also the largest wheat tip in the UK and the biggest single-source suppliers of animal feed.  We definitely don't do things by halves!  Our plant runs 24-hours a day, seven days a week.  The whole process begins with locally sourced feed wheat, which is brought to our site by truck.  In simple terms, our process is comprised of four key stages - The Mill, The Brewery, The Distillery and The Feed Factory.  Read on to discover what happens once the wheat arrives on site...

The Mill

Wheat is made up of starch, protein and fibre.  At Vivergo we use the starch to produce the bioethanol and the protein and fibre to make our animal feeds.

The process starts when the wheat arrives at the site.  The wheat grains are tested for quality and 'tipped' into one of our six silos, each of which can hold up to 1,500 tonnes of grain.

We refer to the wheat milling and storage area of the site as 'The Mill', because it works in the same way as a traditional flour mill.  Once the wheat has been milled into flour, it is mixed with water to form a slurry that is then 'cooked' with steam.  At this point the product looks a lot like thick porridge!  We then add enzymes to thin the mixture and help convert the starch into sugar before brewing.

The Brewery

The porridge-like product then moves onto 'The Brewery', which is comprised of eight fermentation tanks and a beerwell.  Here we follow a similar process to a conventional brewery - but on an even larger scale! We start the brewing phase by adding yeast to the porridge-like product to convert the sugars from wheat starch to alcohol.  At the end of each fermentation cycle we are left with a 'beer', with an alcohol concentration of around 12%. At this point, the protein and fibre from the remains suspended in the beer solution.  At the end of the brewing process the beer is transferred to the beerwell in preparation for distillation.

The Distillery

In the first stage of distillation we separate the alcohol from the protein and fibre.  In the second stage we concentrate the alcohol to 96% and then further dry it to 99.7% alcohol.  At this point it then becomes our bioethanol product and is sent to storage.  It is then either transferred to our jetty for loading onto a ship.  It is then transported to refineries around the UK or into mainland Europe where it is blended with regular petrol for use in conventional car engines.  Our process is very efficient, with virtually no waste.


The Feed Factory

The proteins and fibre arrive from distillation and are squeezed to remove most of the water.  At this stage the solid product is still relatively moist.  We then transfer it to our three dryers (think tumble dryer on a massive scale) so that it can be dried and pelletised to form the majority of our animal feed product - which is similar to the food pellets you buy at a petting zoo.  Some of the solid product is deliberately not sent through the dryers so that it can be sold in a moist form or as a syrup feed.  

The animal feed products are stored in a large warehouse before being delivered to farms across the UK via truck - in some cases the same trucks that bring the wheat to the plant.

Bioethanol

Bioethanol is a renewable energy made from carbohydrates in plants - at Vivergo, we'll use locally sourced feed wheat, which is a very sustainable source.

The UK is committed to meeting the EU wide 10% renewable energy in transport target  via the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) and sustainable biofuels will be the main 'vehicle' for achieving this target.

Biofuels currently make up around 4% of transport fuels used today. At 420 million litres per annum, Vivergo's production capacity will represent around a third of the UK's 2013/14 requirements under the RTFO, contributing to a more diverse energy mix, and helping to tackle energy security and climate change both here and across the world.

We'll be one the largest bioethanol producers in Europe and biggest in the UK. Our bioethanol will offer greenhouse gas savings of over 50% - in real terms that is the equivalent of taking 180,000 cars off the road.

Animal Feed

We'll transform approximately half of the 1.1m tonnes of feed wheat we use into a protein rich animal feed, something which the UK and indeed Europe is hugely deficient in – currently importing around 80% of the requirement.

The local feed wheat that Vivergo will use is already used for animal feed products but currently much of that is exported.

Our process takes in 1.1 million tonnes of this wheat and gives approximately half back to UK agriculture in a form that has more protein and which is more appropriate to the needs of the livestock/dairy farmer.
 
Currently, up to 80% of the protein needed for UK (and European) agriculture is imported and the Vivergo products will help to reduce this. We produce 500,000 tonnes of animal feed every year, making us the UK’s largest single source supplier.

We supply the protein required for 340,000 dairy cows every day (as part of total dietary requirements) – which equates to approaching 20% of the UK dairy herd!  This displaces South American imported feed which has been identified as a food security risk.

The scale of the Vivergo plant will mean that we play an important role in UK agriculture and we are committed to supporting local farmers as a key part of that.

AB Agri is Vivergo's selected partner to manage the marketing and distribution of all of our animal feed products - dry pelleted, moist meal, and liquid solubles.

If you are interested in learning more about Vivergo's animal feed products, please visit vivergofeeds.