Bio-ethanol plant

British Sugar developed a large-scale bio-ethanol plant at their Wissington Factory in East Anglia to provided a high-quality fuel additive from an existing co-product from the sugar production process.

Location: East Anglia
Client: British Sugar
Cost: £40m
Completion: 2014

The new bio-ethanol plant was constructed on a greenfield site adjacent to the existing factory, and comprised a number of large fermentation vessels, distillation plant, and ancillary process buildings and piperacks. The plant was constructed on poor ground and all structures were constructed on piled raft foundations.

Blyth & Blyth have worked extensively with British Sugar on the Wissington site on major projects which included the Phoenix Processing Plant and the CHP Energy Centre. The civil and structural works were designed, tendered, contract-managed and supervised on site by Blyth & Blyth. British Sugar were responsible for the specification and procurement of all process, mechanical, electrical and control packages.

Key challenges

The key challenge was the close coordination required with the process contractor at design stage.  The design of the process and the procurement of the main vessels, plant and equipment was carried out overseas, and the layout and design information required for the detailed design of the foundations and steel structures was revised frequently as the process design developed.

Construction works needed to be coordinated with plant deliveries to facilitate plant and equipment installation.  Many of the larger tanks and columns were site-erected onto prepared bases and plinths.


The bio-ethanol plant was successfully constructed and commissioned with 12 months of commencement of the works on site. Blyth & Blyth’s input to the design, contract management and supervision of the civil and structural works was part of a wider successful team effort on the overall project.