Ensus UK gearing up to produce high protein feed for aquaculture and pet food applications

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Aerial image of Ensus' plant in Teeside  © Ensus UK Ltd
Aerial image of Ensus' plant in Teeside © Ensus UK Ltd

Related tags Protein Ddgs bioethanol Aquaculture pet food

CropEnergies AG, the German biofuels manufacturer, is to invest around £90m (US$116.8m) in projects at the biorefinery of its UK based company, Ensus Ltd.

Ensus, based at the Wilton International manufacturing site on Teesside, operates one of the largest bioethanol production plants in Europe, converting more than a million tons of grains a year into 400 million liters of bioethanol for fuel.

The two by-products of the distillation and fermentation process are dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS), which is sold as protein enriched animal feed, and biogenic CO2 for use in the food and drinks industries and in other sectors. 

Dr Stephan Meeder (left) CEO and CFO of Ensus' parent company, CropEnergies AG, with Grant Pearson, chair of Ensus UK, examining some of the current feed made at the plant at the Wilton International site on Teesside. © Ensus UK Ltd

The £90m the parent group is ploughing into Ensus will be used to fund a high protein feed project as well as operational reliability and energy efficiency initiatives.

A major part of the investment will be the construction of a new £60-£70m feed production unit at the Wilton International plant. Commissioning is scheduled for 2025. This will enable Ensus to produce EnPro, a high-protein product aimed at UK and European aqua feed and pet food markets.

Ensus said it will partner with US based technology provider, Fluid Quip Technologies (FQT), on the design and process engineering of the patented and proven MSC protein separation technology, which will be used to produce EnPro. The MSC protein technology is currently operating at nine facilities in the US. This will be FQT’s first UK installation.

US biorefining company, Green Plains, produces its ultra-high protein​ product using FQT’s MSC system. That technology, it explains, captures the yeast and the high-value corn protein from the whole stillage stream at a biorefinery, resulting in an end product with 50% or greater protein concentration, and one that is targeted at pet, aquaculture and dairy rations. "This technology is crucial in our work to produce sustainable higher-protein feed ingredients, optimal starch utilization and more – all without expanding crop acreage."

Northallerton-based engineering and professional services company, WSP, will conduct the balance of engineering design as well as manage the construction of the new facility.

Expanded protein portfolio 

Grant Pearson, chairperson of Ensus UK, said: “These major investments are a significant sign of CropEnergies’ commitment to Ensus and the bioethanol business within the UK and Europe.

"The further development of our protein product range is particularly important. By taking feed grains primarily used to feed cattle and turning them into higher protein feeds with wider feedstuff applications, we are not only diversifying our product range and overall sustainability but also helping to address the UK’s protein shortage.” 

In a separate investment aimed at improving plant reliability, Ensus is planning to replace one of its feed driers at the plant and upgrade a second. A further investment in a project to install a mechanical vapor recompression unit is aimed at significant reductions in CO2 emissions.

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