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UK Supermarket To Be Powered Exclusively by Waste-To-Energy Plant

U.K. retailer Sainsbury’s announced that it will power one of its supermarkets with 100 percent renewable electricity produced from an anaerobic digester, making it the largest retailer to be off-grid using an anaerobic digester.

Sainsbury’s feeds the waste-to-energy plant with materials from its supermarkets located throughout the U.K. The plant is based in Cannock in the West Midlands, operated by recycling company Biffa, and directly powers the Sainsbury’s Cannock retail store.

When waste enters the digester, it will be turned into bio-methane gas, which is then used to generate electricity. This power will travel along a newly constructed 1.5-kilometer transmission cable to directly supply the store.

Dentons advised Sainsbury's on the energy, construction and property aspects of the project.

"This is another in a series of industry-first energy and sustainability projects led by Sainsbury's in recent years,” Rajan Phakey, partner in Dentons' Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance practice.

Check out an infographic about its anaerobic digestion initiative here.

Sainbury’s also plans to heat its stores in the winter months with ground-source heat pumps. Working with heating company Geoscart, Sainsbury’s will store waste heat from its refrigeration systems underground and then pump it back into the store when necessary. The retailer plans to use the technology across 100 stores, and expects to cut up to 30 percent of its heating consumption. 

“We’re delighted to be leading the way on this groundbreaking technology — helping to reduce energy use and carbon,” said Paul Crewe, head of sustainability, engineering & energy at Sainsbury’s said in a statement. “I hope that with Geoscart’s help we’ll now see more retailers following suit.”

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