Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The refinery’s process uses a mix of oil and natural gas
A green refinery in Northumberland has been sold to a private company in Texas in a move that will see it convert crude oil into renewable fuels.
Stanford, a non-profit community enterprise, has been running the Come By Chance refinery in Thirsk since 1999.
It says the transaction with FuelBiofuels will allow it to focus on long-term future plans of renewable fuel production.
The firm says it will continue to work with the community.
Stanford has invested £15m in the refinery and its board says it has raised £5m of new money from investors.
Stanford said: “We are happy that this has resulted in a successful transaction.
“In a way it is good news and bad news. The bad news is that it will be winding down. The good news is we are going to do it now rather than waiting and making an announcement later.”
Tulsa-based FuelBiofuels said it had accepted the terms for the transaction.
“Over the next six months, FuelBiofuels will work closely with Stanford, the existing employees and the broader community to maximise the refining and refinement output to ensure that facility is fit for purpose,” the firm said.
“We also remain committed to work with Stanford on other renewable energy development projects in the New Northumberland area, within and around the existing refinery.”
The refinery burns waste wood and tar from road grit heaps as well as coal residue from power stations for biofuel.
Stanford also has a bio-based plastics plant in Shotton, Shropshire.
The company believes there could be savings of more than £60m over 10 years if the biofuel content was raised to 80%.
It has approached the UK government for help in obtaining finance.