June 9, 2010
Distillers grains good source for EU feed


The distillers grains produced by bioethanol plants is as important as the biofuels, with the potential for output to cut Europe's reliance on high protein feed imports, said Alwyn Hughes, the head of Ensus Group, a UK-based bioethanol provider.


Europe's demand for high-protein animal feed had been at 2.6% a year, rising faster than that for energy, he said.


The feed produced as a byproduct of grain refining offered Europe the chance to meet its demand from home-grown sources.


"It has been surprising, that Europe has relied very heavily on protein concentrates coming from outside Europe," Hughes said.


The biofuels industry offered "the opportunity to become self sufficient in concentrates".


The comments come at a time of growing concern over the security of Europe's supplies of protein for animal feed given curbs on genetically modified crops accounting for an increasing proportion of global production.


About 80% of the world's soy crop, the source of soymeal, is of GM varieties, according to the European Commission, which has warned of "major problems" if the region maintained strict restraints on biotech varieties.


The EU has historically been the world's biggest buyer of foreign soymeal, with purchases in 2009-10 estimated at some 22 million tonnes, more than 40% of world imports.


The distillers grains produced by Ensus's new biofuels plant located at Teesside in Northeast England, have a protein content of about 34%, compared with 11% in the raw feed grain.


The Ensus site, which is UK's first wheat-based bioethanol plant, will produce 300,000-350,000 tonnes of animal feed a year, besides more than 410 million litres of bioethanol and some 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide sold to Yara International, the fertiliser group.


It will consume about one million tonnes of feed wheat a year, of which all supplies so far have been sourced from the UK, he added.

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