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. Britain launches its first sugar-fuel plant

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Nov 22, 2007
Britain officially launched Thursday its first bioethanol plant, which will produce millions of litres of fuel each year from sugar.

The plant, situated next to a British Sugar processing factory in Wissington, eastern England, started producing bioethanol for the domestic transport market in September.

"We've got a big potential to save, with these fuels, a lot of damage that is being done to the planet," said Lord Jeff Rooker, the sustainable food and farming minister, at the official launch.

The plant cost 20 million pounds (41 million dollars, 28 million euros) to build.

"We're very pleased with this investment to make this a practical reality on a practical scale -- this is not experimental, this will put fuels into cars."

The 70 million litres, or 55,000 tonnes, of bioethanol the plant will produce each year will go towards the government's target for renewables to make up five percent of fuel sold at fuel stations by 2010.

Around one million tonnes of biofuels are required to meet the target.

The plant uses some 110,000 tonnes of sugar grown in Britain, which is surplus to quota allowances and can no longer be exported from the European Union. Those regulations were a primary factor in building the plant.

British Sugar is to build a 200-million-pound bioethanol plant in Hull, northern England, which will produce 420 million litres of fuel from domestic-grown wheat.

"This is a new industry, it's a fast evolving industry and it definitely needs a government support framework in order to allow investment," said British Sugar chief executive Mark Carr.

The Wissington plant launch comes a day after Business Secretary John Hutton gave the green light for Britain to build the world's biggest biomass station.

The 350-megawatt wood chip-fuelled electricity generating plant will be sited in the industrial town of Port Talbot on the south Wales coast. It will cost 400 million pounds to construct.

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Wind power, long considered to be as fickle as wind itself, can be groomed to become a steady, dependable source of electricity and delivered at a lower cost than at present, according to scientists at Stanford University. The key is connecting wind farms throughout a given geographic area with transmission lines, thus combining the electric outputs of the farms into one powerful energy source. The findings are published in the November issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.

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