The Prince of Wales, financier Jacob Rothschild and J Sainsbury are part of a group investing £65m in a start-up company called Tamar Energy that will produce energy from organic waste in the UK.
Investors are led by Lord Rothschild’s investment vehicle, RIT Capital Partners, and Islamic investment firm Fajr Capital, but also includes The Duchy of Cornwall, Lord Rothschild’s Family Interests and supermarket group Sainsbury’s.
Tamar will develop a UK network of more than 40 anaerobic digestion (AD) plants around the UK, which will collectively generate 100 megawatts of electricity over the next five years.
AD is a microbial process that converts organic waste into gases such as methane in the absence of oxygen. The biogas can then be burnt to produce energy or be “cleaned” for injection into the national gas grid.
Landfill taxes are rising as an incentive for companies to develop better ways of managing the UK’s waste. The move was welcomed by the Government.
“This investment shows there are great business opportunities in this technology, creating heat and power to run homes and businesses and reducing the amount of organic waste that would otherwise lie rotting in landfill,” said Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary.
Sainsbury’s is investing £2m in Tamar and said it would encourage its suppliers to use the sites to cut down waste in the supply chain. “Sainsbury’s is the UK’s leading retail user of AD so we are delighted to be an investor and strategic partner of Tamar Energy,” said Justin King, the supermarket’s chief executive.
Alan Lovell will be executive chairman of Tamar. He was previously the chief executive of Infinis, which produces about 10pc of the UK’s total renewable energy.