The £1.5 billion European fuels business, Greenergy International, plans to step up its presence in the UK market as it starts construction of a £13.5 million biodiesel production plant in Humberside.

The Immingham-based plant will initially supply 100,000 tonnes of biodiesel a year, and will serve the fast-growing UK and European biofuels markets.

Andrew Owens, (pictured above, right) joined representatives of the UK farming community to lay the foundations for the plant that will be owned and operated by subsidiary Greenergy Biofuels Ltd. Construction is due to be completed in autumn 2006.

The project began less than a month after the UK government announced a Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation requiring all road fuels to have a 5% biofuel component by 2010. It also comes at a time when strong sector growth has seen Greenergy’s sales of pure bioethanol and biodiesel top 88 million litres over the past 10 months – enough to produce 1.8 billion litres of 5% blended biofuel, according to Owens.

“Greenergy has a 12-year track record of innovation and growth in the UK and international fuels sector,” he said.

“Today we have established, alongside our core fuels business, a commercially successful and fast-growing biofuels operation.

“Our business now comfortably accounts for more than 50% of the total UK biofuels market.”