UK retailer Asda has announced plans to test hydrogen fuel cells for manual handling equipment in its Skelmersdale Chilled Distribution Centre (CDC) in Greater Manchester.
The company aims to reduce its carbon footprint in the area by 80% through this initiative, which it says is a first among UK retailers.
The cells, produced by Plug Power, will be used to power equipment such as forklift trucks and order pickers at the distribution centre.
'A Big Priority'
General manager at Asda's Skelmersdale CDC, Darren Pettner, said, “Being a sustainable business is a big priority for us, so we are delighted to introduce a new way of working which will have a significant impact on our carbon footprint.
“We are excited about the possibilities this trial presents and what we could achieve in the future.”
In the trial phase, the retailer expects to cut carbon dioxide emissions in the facility by 120 kilograms and save close to 300,000-kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
The new cells have twice the power of lead-acid batteries with zero emissions and water as the only by-product, Asda added.
Like regular batteries, it uses a simple connector to power the cells and the equipment.
It takes around 90 seconds to refuel hydrogen fuel cells, which is significantly shorter than the time required by lead batteries.
Asda has pledged to reduce its scope one and two emissions by 50% by 2025 and is collaborating with suppliers to develop ideas and solutions to tackle climate change and food waste.
The retailer also aims to remove 1 billion tonnes of emissions globally as part of Project Gigaton.
Besides, the company has already reduced its energy use in stores by 20%.
At present, it uses the same amount of energy as it did in 2005, despite its estate being 200% bigger, Asda said.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.