TOP STOCKBROKER Nat le Roux has bought a personal stake in renewable biomass business Terravesta, investing £2 million in the rapidly-developing miscanthus bio-economy.

The Scots-born former chief executive of investment giant the IG Group, and current chairman of Australian minerals investment business Scotgold, is helping Terravesta grow its operations, allowing for more planting to meet increasing demand, and funding further research and development into producing new seed-based varieties and building markets for the crop.

“The investment will bolster miscanthus markets and pave the way for innovations which are being successfully field- trialled," said Terravesta operations manager Alex Robinson. "Over the next few years a proportion of farmers will be able to plant miscanthus from seed as well as rhizome and currently numerous future markets for miscanthus are opening up, which include biodegradable plastics, packaging, furniture, high value chemicals, pharmaceuticals and hundreds of other uses, through the process of bio-refining.”

According to Mr Robinson, miscanthus is a crop which can be grown on marginal land; is carbon negative, meaning that it absorbs more carbon than it releases through harvest and transport; boosts soil health; encourages biodiversity – and 350,000 hectares in Britain is suitable to grow it without any detriment to the food supply.

Commenting on his acquisition, Mr le Roux predicted that miscanthus will become 'a major part of the energy mix' and will contribute to mitigating climate change on a global scale.

"Terravesta is an innovative British company with unflinching drive and vision and is paving the way for the sustainable bio-economy,” he said. “Big challenges require big solutions and I’m delighted to be investing in the leading biomass company in its field. Terravesta’s vision and practical approach to a sustainable future is driving exciting new opportunities.”

Terravesta chairman William Cracroft-Eley added: “We’re responding to the devastating effects of climate change by moving away from fossil-based hydrocarbon products, and replacing them with renewable technologies. Miscanthus has a major contribution to make to the sustainable future of our economy and this is recognised in Nat’s investment.”