Generating electricity from food waste and leftovers- not a new concept at all. But using the electricity generated from expired produce to fully power an entire supermarket, now this is a revelation.
The first ever supermarket to be 100% powered by food waste from its shelves, opened its doors in Cannock, U.K.. Sainsbury’s store, together with a waste recycling company Biffa, accomplished their mission to produce enough energy through anaerobic digestion of leftover food so that the store can safely disconnect from the national power grid.
The energy generation will not take place in-house. All food waste will be transported to Biffa’s nearby plant, where it will be converted into biogas and used for energy generation. The produced electricity will then be sent back to the store via a 1.5 kilometer transmission line.
Of course, this will not interfere with the already established practice of the supermarket to allow charities to have the first pick through the left overs. The food remains will then be offered to farmers, who will also get their chance to take food for their animals. Whatever is left after that would go to the anaerobic digestor.
The supermarket chain made itself popular, as they were awarded with the prestigious title of UK’s largest user of energy produced from food waste and anaerobic digestion. They also take pride in the fact that none of their food waste goes to landfills, and there is continuously ongoing research that focuses on finding new and better waste to recycle and reuse whatever food does not make it to their customer’s refrigerators.
Sainsbury’s are not the only ones to adopt such technology. A while ago, similar story made it to the news, where the U.S. supermarket chain Ralph’s, managed to meet 20% of its energy demands using food waste. About a year ago, this was the first ever supermarket that managed to both cut down on waste and generate bio-energy. The UK store in Cannock, however, is the first ever to meet 100% of their energy demands through this process.
Image (c) Reuters