New Waitrose Store runs on tomato power

29 January 2008

Waitrose Rickmansworth fuelled by tomatoes!


green energy uk, supplier of 100% green electricity, is providing the new Waitrose shop in Rickmansworth with all its electricity - produced entirely through growing tomatoes.

The electricity is a by-product from tomato farms in Chichester and Stansted - both Waitrose suppliers. Combined Heat and Power units* are used on the farms to produce heat for the greenhouses which also generates carbon dioxide which is sued to feed the tomatoes. Apart from generating heat the steam produced in warming the water is used to drive a turbine, creating electricity. The resulting electricity is fully sustainable, and fulfils the Waitrose Rickmansworth shop’s total electricity needs.

green energy uk's electricity comes entirely from green sources, including pig waste, vegetable oil and organic waste gasification. green energy uk founder and Chief Executive, Doug Stewart, says: "Electricity from growing tomatoes is extremely positive because it has multiple benefits and no waste – all the heat is used for warming the greenhouses, the CO2 is 'fed' to the plants and the electricity goes to consumers and businesses who want green power. It's great to work with Waitrose on a project like this because it makes a great deal of sense to use these resources. It's an excellent piece of joined-up-thinking"

Bill Wright, Energy and Environment Manager at Waitrose, says: "Waitrose insists on high environmental standards across its business and all our other branches source their electricity entirely from renewable sources.

"However we feel that so called ‘tomato power’ is an idea worth exploring. In addition to being an environmentally sound option, this surplus energy also helps the farms generate additional income - so everyone benefits."

Doug Stewart continues: "There are massive infrastructure and technology issues in moving away from our present carbon economy. It is important to promote the introduction of new technologies to substitute for fossil fuels and make renewable and green technologies a greater part of the mix. This will eventually drive energy prices down as greener technologies improve and our reliance on fossil fuels lessens. In theory the UK has the resources to receive all of its electricity from green means, all we need to do is harness this potential, and we are making great strides in that direction."


Notes to editors:

* Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is the simultaneous generation of electricity and useful heat in a combined, highly efficient process. The Government's target is to double UK CHP capacity by 2010.

  1. green energy uk is a young, Hertfordshire-based company which has grown substantially since it was established in 2001, and by 50% in the past year alone. It has a very unusual and radical business model: it is giving away half of its business in shares – the first 100,000 customers are getting 400 shares each. This not only gives them a potential stake in the future, but involves them in the business and its successes.
  2. green energy uk facilitates investment in a wide range of technologies including small scale hydro, CHP, organic waste gasification, vegetable oil and pig waste. 70% of the generation capacity green energy uk contracts were not in business when the company was formed in 2001.
  3. It would take 150,000 UK tomato farms to supply the UK with all its electricity needs, which is okay if you are prepared to eat tomatoes with every meal!