The Prince of Wales has opened the country's first commercial full-scale anaerobic digester and biomethane plant, situated in Dorset.
His Royal Highness praised the "remarkable engineering feat" which has made the plant the first in the UK to inject renewable gas directly into the local distribution network on a permanent basis. The plant will provide renewable gas directly toPoundbury - the urban extension of Dorchester built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.
It is based at nearby Rainbarrow Farm and could supply up to 56,000 new-build homes in the summer with renewable gas.
The Prince, who takes a keen interest in renewable energy, has been consulted at every stage of the project, which is owned and run by JV Energen - a joint venture between local farmers and the Duchy of Cornwall.
His Royal Highness was taken on a tour of the plant, met the people behind the project and also unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.
Addressing guests, he said: "As far as I am concerned it is a very exciting and encouraging day. "I have been badgering the Duchy and others over the years to find a way of kick-starting the anaerobic digestion sector in this country.
"As we have quite a lot of people here from the Continent, you may well realise that in the Netherlands and Germany they are much further ahead on this front.
"I am particularly pleased and proud that we have been able today to launch this remarkable engineering feat of the first gas-to-grid operation."