Biofuel Firm Settles on Grangemouth Site

29.08.2016 -

Edinburgh, Scotland-based Celtic Renewables, a company specialized in producing bio-butanol from Scotch whisky byproducts, has filed an application with the local Falkirk Council, the region’s governing body, to build a production facility in the town’s Earls Gate Park. A public consultation on the plans is scheduled for September.

The company has attracted seed capital and partners in the private sector to fund a demonstration plant producing the biobutanol, used as an alternative fuel for automobiles and airplanes, and scaling it up to industrial production. Target date for completion of construction is 2018.

Company founder Professor Martin Tangney said the renewables producer has successfully taken a defunct technology and adapted it to current market conditions. “This historic sample could herald a new era in sustainable biofuel and the birth of a UK industry worth £100 million a year,” he said. The acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation process was first developed in the UK a century ago, but died out in competition with the petrochemical industry. Now the bio-butanol it produces is seen as regaining popularity as an advanced biofuel and a direct replacement for gasoline.

The facility would be built outside the sprawling petrochemical complex steered by Ineos – which is also trying to attract co-investors in petrochemicals at Grangemouth.

Ineos applies for road closure

Ineos meanwhile has applied to the Falkirk Council to permanently close a stretch of Grangemouth’s Bo’ness Road that runs through its production complex, potentially lending fresh fuel to the dispute raging last year. A 150-meter stretch of the A904 highway was closed in March 2015 to facilitate work on a pipe bridge in preparation for Ineos’ new storage tank for imported US shale-gas derived ethane but, after the road reopened, the Swiss-based group asked the council to close it again.

Having a public thoroughfare running through a massive petrochemicals plant results in obvious and unnecessary added safety concerns, John McNally, CEO of Ineos 0lefins & Polyolefins UK, said at the time.

An Ineos spokesperson told the newspaper Falkirk Herald last week that the Grangemouth complex continues to seek investors and secure long-term feedstock agreements fort he site. It is also building a new headquarters for its petrochemicals business.To realize the full potential of the investment, the the group said it is necessary to permanently close the stretch.