The British bioethanol industry is a vital part of the agricultural supply chain, supporting thousands of British farmers who would otherwise be reliant on the increasingly uncertain international trading environment.
In addition to bioethanol producers owning some of the largest 'breweries' in the UK, they are among the country's largest single buyers of feed wheat and largest production sites of animal feed.
Its bioethanol is produced from feedstock primarily grown in the UK and which is usually in surplus and would not otherwise be suitable for human consumption - for example animal feed-grade wheat which is of a lower quality than that used in bread or biscuit making. Because of this, it is a 'food and fuel' industry, rather than 'food vs fuel' - in fact, whilst bioethanol production has increased, cereal and food prices have decreased. In 2015, bioethanol production accounted for just 2% of the European grain harvest.
British arable farmers are able to command a higher price for their produce by selling it to domestically based bioethanol plants, than if they had to export it into Europe or further afield.
As a co-product of the fermentation process, a protein-rich animal feed is also produced which is used by pastoral farms throughout the UK - primarily for dairy herds, where milk production is increased and thereby greater profits secured for farmers. Without this, in order to gain the same level of protein for their herd, farmers would need to import soya bean product from South America.
As such, the British bioethanol industry provides a valuable circular economy for agriculture - buying its crops, creating a low-carbon fuel source, and returning a high-protein feed.
The British bioethanol industry works closely with bodies such as the National Farmers Union.