UK supermarket chain Waitrose has teamed up with energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power Project to design and build a lower-impact system for the production of industrial fertilizer.
Industrial fertilizer production, which involves converting natural gas and other fossil fuels into ammonia, is responsible for a substantial proportion of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Thanks to co-funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, under its Agri-Tech program, the project will demonstrate the de-carbonization of fertilizer production.
The integrated electrolyzer-based system will produce the hydrogen that is central to creating ammonia (NH3) through the electrolysis of water using renewable energy, therefore decoupling NH3 production from fossil fuels. The project will be piloted at Waitrose’s Leckford Farm in Hampshire.
“ITM Power is delighted to be working with Waitrose to produce renewable fertiliser at its UK farm,” said ITM Power CEO Dr Graham Cooley. “The widespread deployment of our technology has the potential to dramatically reduce the material greenhouse gas emissions associated with fertiliser production globally. This is a new and exciting market for us.”
Waitrose has been working hard to de-carbonize its own operations in recent years: In December 2012, it announced it had achieved its aim of sending zero food waste to landfill two months earlier than planned; in May 2013, the grocer announced three major changes to its packaging that will help achieve its goal to slash packaging in half by 2016 and save nearly 100 tons of packaging each year; and in December, the John Lewis Partnership announced a partnership with SmartestEnergy to supply over 380 of its Waitrose and John Lewis stores with 100 percent clean power beginning in January 2015.