Tesco plans to cut carbon emissions by converting waste food from the British chain's Irish stores into natural gas.
Until recently surplus food that the grocery giant’s Irish arm did not give to its designated charity Foodcloud, was sent to Northern Ireland to be converted into energy.
However, Tesco Ireland now intends supplying more than 6,400 tonnes of waste food a year from its stores in the Republic to Kildare-based Green Generation, which will convert it to methane that will then be supplied to the Irish natural gas network.
This will produce enough natural gas to supply six Irish Tesco stores, effectively allowing the chain to cut carbon emissions by 1,200 tonnes a year.
Tesco will pay Green Generation to supply its business in the Republic with natural gas. Independent energy company Naturgy will ship the fuel to the grocery chain.
The unsold food that Tesco will supply to Green Generation will amount to around 1 per cent of the chain’s Irish sales.
Nurney, Co Kildare-based Green Generation spent €2.5 million building a plant that converts waste to gas using a system called anaerobic digestion. The material left after the gas is produced can be used as fertiliser.
According to Green Generation founder Billy Costello, the company changes waste supplied by other high-profile businesses to gas, including Guinness owner drinks multinational Diageo.
Green Generation ships the gas to the supply network through a special injection point at nearby Cush, Co Kildare, installed by State company Gas Networks Ireland at a cost of€1.7 million.
Gas Networks Ireland managing director Denis O’Sullivan said substituting renewable gas for natural gas was one of the ways in which the State company aided the Republic in cutting carbon emissions.
Kari Daniels, chief executive of Tesco Ireland, welcomed the move.