Supermarket chain Tesco has been given the go ahead to build Britain’s first ever straw-powered CHP plant to meet the electricity and heating needs of its Goole Distribution Centre.

The new plant will generate 5 MWe with any excess electricity to be sold back to the grid. The straw will be supplied from local farms.

Tesco estimates that it will have recouped the £12 million (US$24 million) set up costs within six years.
David North, community and government director, said: ‘We’ve identified five sites that would be suitable for further biomass technology, and are making big investments in wind turbines too.’

Tesco has set itself a stretching target to halve the carbon footprint of its estate by 2020 and recently secured planning permission for two large wind turbines at its Distribution Centres in Daventry. These 90m high turbines will each generate 800 kW. It is applying for consent for another three 100m turbines which will each generate 1.25 MW.

Building work at the supermarket’s Distribution Centre in Goole will begin shortly, and the power plant will be operational later next year. The supermarket has also submitted a planning application to build a second small-scale biomass plant at their Livingston Tesco has also installed gas-fired CHP plants at stores in Carmarthen, Gloucester, Swansea, Reading and Orpington, as well as its Recycling Service Unit in Peterborough.