INEOS Bioethanol Plant, Tees Valley, United Kingdom

INEOS Bio is planning a bioethanol plant which will use waste as its feedstock, the first of its kind in Europe. The plant will be located at Seal Sands in the Tees Valley, UK. In June 2010, the company received a total of £7.3m ($10.7m) in grants from various government agencies.

The bioethanol plant will have a capacity to convert commercial and biodegradeable household waste from one million homes into 150,000t of bioethanol annually.

The E10 biofuel will be sufficient for about 1.5 million vehicles a year and reduce 50,000t of carbon dioxide emissions.

The plant will also generate 3MW of renewable electricity sufficient to power about 6,000 homes. The estimated investment in the plant is £52m.

Design and construction of INEOS Bio's plant

"In June 2010, the company received a total of £7.3m ($10.7m) in grants from various government agencies."

In November 2009 INEOS conducted a feasibility study for the construction of the bioethanol plant at the INEOS Seal Sands site. The £3.5m study involved detailed engineering design work for the plant.

The study was supported by the DECC and the Regional Development Agency One North East with a £2.2m grant.

Stockton Council approved the planning consent for INEOS Bio for the initial bio-energy plant. The INEOS plant will create 350 jobs during construction and provide employment to more than 40 people thereafter.

As of June 2011, front-end design and engineering for the plant has been completed. Full planning consent has also been received. INEOS is currently negotiating contractual agreements for feedstock supply. It is also seeking finance for commencing phase A of the construction of the plant.


The bioethanol plant will use the proprietary INEOS Bio technology process, a combined thermochemical and biochemical process.

The proprietary second generation patented bioethanol technology converts the waste into clean biofuel and electricity.

The technology uses landfill waste in commercial quantities, rather than conventional crops-based bio-ethanol fuel. The bioethanol will be used as E10 fuel, a 10% blend of bioethanol in 90% petrol volume.

About 400l of ethanol can be converted from one ton of dry waste. A pilot plant for the technology has been operational since 2003 and it has been proven successful. The INEOS bioethanol is claimed to reduce emissions by 90%.

INEOS BioEnergy process technology

The INEOS bio-process uses biochemical conversion technology to produce bioethanol from synthesis gas.

"Stockton Council approved the planning consent for INEOS Bio for the initial bio-energy plant. The INEOS plant will create 350 jobs during construction."

The process uses a natural bacterial biocatalyst developed by the company in three stages - gasification, fermentation and purification.

The organic carbon waste material is superheated with controlled amounts of oxygen to form synthesis gas. The gas is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The heat from the synthesis gas is recovered to generate renewable power.

The gas is cleaned and cooled and then fed through a patented fermentation process. Naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria, which acts as a biocatalyst, converts the synthesis gas to an ethanol solution. The off-gas from the fermenter is also used to generate heat and power. The ethanol solution is then purified to produce anhydrous ethanol (>99.7% ethanol) for use as blended fuel in cars.

The bacterial biocatalyst used in the INEOS Bio technology is highly selective to ethanol and economical when compared with conventional bacteria. The environmentally friendly biocatalyst produces syngas from various waste carbon materials.

Finances and market growth in renewables

In June 2010, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) approved funding of £4.5m ($6.6m) for the plant's construction.

The Regional Development Agency One North East will fund £2.8m ($4.13m), of which £1.8m ($2.65m) has been secured through the Tees Valley Industrial Programme (TVIP).

The TVIP is a £60m investment programme of the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and One North East.

The TVIP aims to enable advanced and low carbon industrial manufacturing in the region.

It is also expected to generate about 10,000 jobs in the long-term.

Based on market conditions, the plant will be expanded into a larger integrated bio-refinery, combining the bioethanol production with advanced waste treatment processes by 2015. The biorefinery will also help in achieving the UK's Renewable Energy Directive to meet the renewable energy targets of power, transportation fuel and heat set for 2020.

The directive specifies to use 10% of renewable road transport fuel and 15% of energy must be generated from renewable sources.