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HMRC internal manual

Biofuels and Fuel Substitutes Assurance

Authorisation/Approval: Bioethanol production

Ethanol Production - Approvals and licences:



(Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 Sections 12 & 13, Spirits Regulations 1991, part 2 Regulation 4 et seq)

  • 1) Plant and process approval
  • 2) Distillers’ licence
  • 3) Entry of premises (Form EX 103 or 103A)

(Further details and an application form for a distiller’s licence can be found in Notice 39 ‘Spirits Production’)

Production may only commence once the distiller’s license has been obtained, plant and process approved and entry of premises made.

Excise Warehousing


(Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 Section 92 & Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 Section 15)

  • Warehouse-keeper approval
  • Distillers’ warehouse approval

(Details can be found in Notice 197)



(Denatured Alcohol Regulations 2005 (DAR))

Authorisation to denature spirits.

Producers must be authorised to produce denatured alcohol. They must write to the National Registration Unit (NRU) for approval of their intended process and the use of the particular Trade Specific Denatured Alcohol (TSDA) formulation they require.

The approved formulation for the manufacture of bioethanol as a road fuel is listed at Part 3 (i) of the Schedule to DAR.

(Full details of the approval requirements can be found in Notice 473)

Denaturant to be used for bioethanol for road fuel use

A TSDA approval from HMRC must be sought to use this recipe.

With every 990 parts by volume of alcohol (of a strength not less than 85 per cent alcohol by volume) mix 10 parts by volume of methanol (of standard BS506), and to the resulting mixture add denatonium benzoate in the proportion of 10 micrograms per millilitre. The approved use is for blending with petrol (gasoline) to be used as a road fuel.

Denatonium benzoate (commonly called “bitrex”) is a proven denaturant and the level of addition of methanol (which acts as a chemical marker) falls well within the agreed standard for BS EN228.

See also HCOBIG8000 on Bioethanol and bioethanol blend - Production, storage and delivery.