E10 petrol set to launch in September 2021

A move to E10 could open up a more profitable avenue for bioethanol production increasing in the UK. With one plant currently mothballed and another running on maize, the incentive to move back to wheat (if competitively priced as a feedstock) to increase production is building.



So, let’s assume that we have two ethanol plants running building capacity in Q4 of 2021 and Q1 of 2022. Firstly, we must consider the overall supply and demand situation. We are likely to have the barest of wheat stocks as we leave the 2020/21 season, as outlined in the release of this week’s supply and demand estimates. Therefore, without a bumper 2021 wheat harvest, the supply and demand picture for 2021/22 is already looking tight. Add in more demand to the market and this tightness grows.

Regionally, this would manifest itself in greater delivered premiums for feed wheat in Yorkshire, and so lift the entire pricing complex of the east coast of England and even Scotland (assuming a tight market). So, there is the potential of good news in terms of ex-farm pricing for sellers.

We would also see a greater level of by-products being produced. Considering we are producing less rape meal due to a smaller crop, an increase in wheat-based distillers dried grains (DDGS) could replace rape meal in animal feed rations.

Given where we are today, an increase in wheat demand from bioethanol production in the UK would only be supportive to the market. Unless we see a significant increase in wheat production from harvest ’21 in both the UK and EU the market could face tightness for many months to come.

https://ahdb.org.uk/news/analyst-insight-green-fuel-what-could-this-mean-for-wheat-prices

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Chris F

Staff Member
Media
Location
Hammerwich
This assumes that the bioethanol is made from wheat, not maize.
The first sentence does state clearly that assumption in fairness.

I really need to read up on biothanol production to get my head round it. As my basic school chemistry says to turn Fructose into ethanol, you also create CO2 as a by product. But they then claim this as lower CO2 when the fuel is burnt by a car (as you have already burnt it off). Maybe as farmers we just shouldn't care.
 

Brisel

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
North Yorkshire
The first sentence does state clearly that assumption in fairness.

I really need to read up on biothanol production to get my head round it. As my basic school chemistry says to turn Fructose into ethanol, you also create CO2 as a by product. But they then claim this as lower CO2 when the fuel is burnt by a car (as you have already burnt it off). Maybe as farmers we just shouldn't care.
Indeed it did.

I've just spoken to a grain trader who thinks that Ensus will probably switch back to wheat from August as new crop wheat comes available. Delivered maize prices are too high relative to wheat for the autumn.

Don't worry about the CO2. IMO some of it gets captured & used. If you want to save the planet, biofuels are not the answer. Our need and means of transport is. 5-10% of the energy required to propel our cars is used to move us - the rest is the inertia of the vehicle!
 

zero

Member
Location
Yorkshire
The first sentence does state clearly that assumption in fairness.

I really need to read up on biothanol production to get my head round it. As my basic school chemistry says to turn Fructose into ethanol, you also create CO2 as a by product. But they then claim this as lower CO2 when the fuel is burnt by a car (as you have already burnt it off). Maybe as farmers we just shouldn't care.
I have a hazy recollection from talking to a grainco rep a few years ago that ensus have a use for the co2 but I can't remember what it was for.
 

PSQ

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Scottish Borders

Brisel

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
North Yorkshire
But when soft drinks are opened, isn't it emitted then. That's just a delay it hasn't been captured and stored.

The more time I spend in this area, individual processes claim they are neutral, but overall the effect seems to be the same.
Yep. It all depends on how you selectively work the figures. That CO2 is a by product that displaces fossil fuels that would be used to produce it by other means. How much extra carbon is expended getting it from the biofuel plants to the processor is another matter.
 

Chris F

Staff Member
Media
Location
Hammerwich
Ethanol is ok but butanol would be far far better as the energy content are much closer to that of petrol.

I do wonder about the viability of ethanol production in a big way given the huge shift to electric cars in the coming years mind.
They always seem to push the sustainability angle, but you need synthetic fert to grow crops, which requires gas to produce, to then process to ethanol (which requires more energy) to make petrol seem more sustainable. Doesn't really sound it, maybe organic ethanol will have a long term market.

It is an interesting world right now.
 
On the maize point - imported maize is currently pricing well ahead of UK delivered wheat into the North East (+£20/t for April), I believe that new crop Ukrainian maize is pricing at a similar sort of premium over UK feed wheat at the moment.

Of course, this could change if we see a bumper maize crop globally or tight UK wheat crop again.

James
 
They always seem to push the sustainability angle, but you need synthetic fert to grow crops, which requires gas to produce, to then process to ethanol (which requires more energy) to make petrol seem more sustainable. Doesn't really sound it, maybe organic ethanol will have a long term market.

It is an interesting world right now.

To be fair, a modest volume of ethanol or similar being produced this way probably makes sense for small engines and the like that we intend to keep going but petrol engines will disappear as far as I can see in the coming years.
 
On the maize point - imported maize is currently pricing well ahead of UK delivered wheat into the North East (+£20/t for April), I believe that new crop Ukrainian maize is pricing at a similar sort of premium over UK feed wheat at the moment.

Of course, this could change if we see a bumper maize crop globally or tight UK wheat crop again.

James
What is the difference in ethanol yield between maize and wheat?
 
What is the difference in ethanol yield between maize and wheat?
From what i've found through a quick google, it would suggest that the alcohol yield for maize vs wheat is very much dependent on the processing temperature. A research paper written in conjunction with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in 2015, suggests that wheat gives a higher alcohol yield than maize when processed at lower temperatures (85 c). However, maize yields more alcohol than wheat at higher temperatures (142 c).

We would also need to consider the biproducts as well to look at the full margin, a cursory glance at some feed websites suggests that maize ddgs have marginally higher metabolisable energy and wheat marginally higher crude protein.

I will speak to one of our research scientists and see if I can find anything more conclusive.

The paper I mentioned is available here - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jib.236

James
 

Early moves to target wild oats

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Growers and agronomists now face the dilemma of an early application to remove competition from emerged wild oats, or holding off to allow more weeds to germinate.

Syngenta grassweeds technical manager, Georgina Wood, urges Axial Pro treatment as soon as conditions allow, once weeds are actively growing.

“That offers the chance to control wild oats more cost effectively at lower rates, whilst there is still the flexibility to tailor application rates up to 0.82 l/ha for larger or over wintered weeds and difficult situations.

“The variability of crops and situations this season means decisions for appropriate Axial Pro rates and application techniques will need to be made on a field-by-field basis,” she advised.

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