British company plans to open Hopewell ethanol plant - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

British company plans to open Hopewell ethanol plant

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HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) -

The plant was supposed to be taken apart, with every tower and turbine put on a ship and sent across the Atlantic Ocean. But a British company has now stopped plans to disassemble Hopewell's state-of-the-art ethanol plant, leaving the facility in place with 70 new jobs.

"This is great news for us," said Hopewell Mayor Mike Bujakowski in a phone interview Tuesday. "We're staying cautiously optimistic, given the site's history. But indications are that the plant has new life."

The plant never opened, after its original owners ran into financial difficulties nearly four years ago. The current owners, Vireol Bio-Industries PLC, originally intended to reassemble the plant about 180 miles north of London. But the British company changed its strategy, and now intends to open the site in Hopewell.

"Vireol has determined that recommissioning is a viable option," reads a description on the company's website. "With one of our partners, the grain silos were successfully returned to full operation at the end of August, to provide storage for the record corn harvest."

Open positions are currently listed on the company's website, with roles ranging from lab technicians to production managers.

The employment opportunities at the Hopewell bioethanol plant can be viewed here: http://vireol.com/about-us/current-opportunities/

The facility was originally estimated to generate more than $2 million in annual tax revenue for Hopewell, a figure that could change if the plant is reconfigured. The site is designed to produce 62 million gallons of ethanol per year.

According to its website, Vireol is developing refineries around the world to produce bioethanol fuels and high protein animal feeds. The company operates from three locations in the United Kingdom, as well as its newest site in Hopewell.

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