Tesco Ireland has announced plans to use renewable gas generated from food surplus to power six of its stores across the country.
The initiative, which Tesco claims is a first among Irish retailers, will help in reducing the retailer's carbon emissions by 1,200 tonnes per annum.
Tesco Ireland has partnered with the Kildare-based renewable energy company Green Generation on the project, facilitated by Gas Networks Ireland.
Commenting on the project, Kari Daniels, CEO of Tesco Ireland said, “This new partnership with Green Generation aligns with our Little Helps Sustainability plan, which guides us in tackling climate change and food waste and allows us to support indigenous and creative solutions to the increasing challenges faced by society as a result.
"This new initiative will help us in our ambition to become a zero-carbon retailer by 2050, as we work together to support national and international climate action.”
The project will involve the conversion of surplus food to renewable gas in Green Generation's €2.5 million anaerobic-digestion plant in Nurney, County Kildare.
The process will reduce the retailer's operational carbon emissions and use leftover meat after donation to FoodCloud, Tesco's surplus food charity partner since 2014.
The gas will be fed into the entry point at Cush, also in Kildare, and Tesco will purchase it from the green energy supplier, Naturgy.
Green Generation’s Billy Costello said he was proud to be working with Tesco, and a host of other Irish companies, including Diageo, to deliver renewable gas to Ireland’s gas network.
'Sustainable Circular Economy'
“We have been generating energy from waste for a number of years and know that renewable gas can not only solve our energy issues, but it can also help deliver a truly sustainable circular economy, by harnessing food and animal waste to deliver clean energy," he added.
The dedicated renewable gas entry point in Cush became fully operational in May and joined Corrib and Kinsale as the three indigenous gas sources on Ireland’s network, Tesco added.
At maximum capacity, the facility in Cush will supply renewable gas to approximately 11,000 homes.
Renewable gas, also known as biomethane, is a clean and carbon-neutral fuel that finds use in transport, heating and as a source of electricity.
Gas Networks Ireland has invested €1.7 million in the gas entry point in Cush and is planning to develop larger renewable gas entry points across Ireland in the coming years.
Managing director of Gas Networks Ireland, Denis O’Sullivan, said, “Renewable gas is a key pillar in our vision to fully decarbonise the gas network by 2050, along with hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.
“Substituting renewable gas for natural gas is seamless and its one of the ways Gas Networks Ireland can reduce Ireland’s total CO2 emissions across key sectors including electricity, industry, heat, transport and agriculture.”