UK Supermarket Powered by Rotting Food

UK Supermarket Powered by Rotting Food

29th July 2014 // By Tara Watson // Health & Science

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's announced last week they will be setting a precedent in sustainability by transforming its own food waste into energy, with one of their stores in Cannock set to be run entirely on electricity generated from its own recycled food waste. 

The energy system works by the food waste being converted into biomethane gas at a anaerobic digestion (AD) plant, the electricity is generated by bacteria feasting on the rotten food and sent back to the store via a 1.5-kilometer cable.

"There are now 60 AD [Anaerobic Digestion] plants recycling food waste, which can process up to 2.5 million tons of food waste per year and generate enough renewable electricity to power a city three times the size of Cannock," said Richard Swannell, a director at Wrap told the BBC.

The system provides an encouraging alternative to electricity from the U.K.'s national power grid, which is generally fed by a combination of coal, natural gas, nuclear power plants and other sources. Along with providing a more ecological sustainable power source it will be utilising unsold and rotting produce that can often go to waste. 

Similar mechanisms have been put in place with the U.S. grocery-store chain Kroger which also has an anaerobic digester that provides more than 20 percent of the electricity to its Compton distribution center. 

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