Case study: Boosting investment opportunities for a Sheffield-based waste heat and horticulture consultancy

District Eating, a horticulture and sustainability consultancy, approached the Translational Energy Research Centre requesting help to create marketing tools for one of their clients help attract investors. Our team were able to provide time and resources to support their goals, giving District Eating and their current and future clients the confidence to progress their exciting clean energy generation technology.

More than just research

As well as providing a state-of-the-art facility for research and development, the Translational Energy Research Centre hosts a team of academics and professionals providing dedicated support and resources on projects for SMEs in the Sheffield City Region.

Our goal is to help businesses to better use energy, whether that means assessing their output and advising on how best to harness energy usage, or supporting enterprises who share our goal of finding new ways to research and develop products and processes which generate and utilise clean energy. 

Supporting District Eating

District Eating, a specialist horticultural site developer and consultancy, provides services in particular to clients working to use waste resources such as low-grade heat and CO2 to grow food and plants. A Sheffield-based start-up which began in April 2019, District Eating is already working to bridge the gap between stakeholders in different industries to provide food-growing solutions which incorporate environmental and social benefits. 

In February 2020, District Eating approached the Translational Energy Research Centre team, asking them to provide additional support and knowledge to one of its clients and associates in commercialising a low-carbon heat and biomass pyrolysis reactor. The technology has potential to provide very low-carbon heat in a range of situations, including horticulture and district energy projects which are of particular interest to District Eating. 

The reactor produces biochar as a by-product, which can be used as a soil conditioner to lock carbon into the ground, resulting in an excellent carbon balance for the process. The reactor can also provide low-carbon, high-temperature heat and power from feedstocks including wood, coconut shells, olive stones and bamboo, amongst other products. 

The Translational Energy Research Centre team provided expertise in the scale-up and commercialisation of biomass technology, and produced a brochure to inform and attract investors.

Providing expertise and resources for further investment

We delivered a coordinated response, organising discussions between District Eating and our project team, whilst simultaneously working to create a simple but informative brochure which clearly set out the abilities and benefits of the reactors.

As a result, District Eating now has a client which is prepared to upscale and seek further investment. With more marketing collateral and increased confidence, District Eating can collaborate with their client to proceed to the next level of their business.

Faye Tomson, owner and creator of District Eating, spoke about her experience: “The support from the Translational Energy Research Centre has been really useful. The guidance we received, as well as the professional, informative and attractive brochures, will help my client and I to find an influential investor for its exciting emerging technology, which ultimately could result in a UK-based low-carbon technology coming to market, uniquely placed to provide low carbon, high temperature heat, and a means to improve and restore agricultural soils at a crucial time in the UK energy transition.”

“With the knowledge and connections provided by the team, District Eating have been better able to serve their client, and have increased their in-house knowledge in relation to commercialisation of low-carbon combustion equipment. District Eating are looking forward to continuing their relationship with the Translational Energy Research Centre, and working together on future opportunities in the field of energy research.”

If you are a start-up or SME in the Sheffield City Region working in an energy-related field, or wanting to learn more about your energy usage, you can email the team on

To download a PDF of this case study, click here: District Eating case study

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