A company that produces Miscanthus grasses to improve soil health and provide an alternative to fossil fuels has been named as the first member of a dedicated Agri-Tech hub.

Terravesta, based at Barclay’s Eagle Lab Farm in Lincoln, is a specialist in Miscanthus grass, which can improve soils, store carbon, increase biodiversity, and provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. The company works with growers in the UK and internationally, linking them with rapidly growing markets.

The Eagle Lab Farm launched in October at the Riseholme campus at the University of Lincoln and is aimed at supporting the UK farming sector to innovate, grow and become the most digitally enabled farming industry in the world.

Membership of the lab offers access to cutting-edge Agri-tech resources, including a dedicated robotics lab, a demonstration pack-house and a model refrigerated supermarket aisle, available for the members to develop and prototype their products.

Terravesta is currently in the process of developing new natural hybrid varieties of Miscanthus grass to suit different markets and climates. It is also part of international research projects to find emerging end-uses for the crop. It is hoped these new hybrids and uses could be a key part of the climate solution, increasing biodiversity on farms, storing carbon, improving soil quality and replacing fossil-derived products. While the primary market for miscanthus is for large-scale power generation, the crop can also be used as a construction material, for livestock bedding, eco-logs and fire starters, with development into future markets including biofuels, composite materials, medical/cosmetic applications, and restoring damaged land.

Eagle Lab members also benefit from support from Barclays who will provide an Ecosystem Manager, access to banking services, business expertise, mentoring and coaching and a year-round events programme.

Managing Director of Terravesta, George Robinson, said: “We’re delighted to join the Eagle Lab Farm and make use of the great facilities on site at Riseholme. We’re looking forward being part of the Barclays Eagle Labs and Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology network.”

Barclays Eagle Lab Lincoln Ecosystems Manager Lisa Bagley, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Terravesta to the Eagle Labs Farm and look forward to supporting the business make progress in their goal of helping our generation move towards more sustainable fuel sources through this fast-growing, plant-based alternative. The potential areas of collaboration between Terravesta and the university are numerous and I envisage some exciting times ahead”

Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology Director, Professor Simon Pearson, said: “It’s fantastic Terravesta has chosen to become part of the agri-tech community at Riseholme and use the newly refurbished facilities at the Lab and Riseholme Campus. We look forward to working with Terravesta in exploring future technologies for sustainability and energy production within agriculture. Researchers at LIAT are at the forefront of tackling challenges within the agricultural sector by applying research and technology to industry settings.”

To find out more about the Lincoln Eagle Lab Farm, please visit: https://labs.uk.barclays/locations/lincoln