Tesco to build biomass plant in Goole

Tesco is to build Britain's first straw-powered biomass plant in Goole, North Humberside.

Tesco has just won planning permission for the combined heat and power plant, which will power its distribution depot on the Junction 36 industrial estate.

The small-scale operation will generate five megawatts of electrical power - enough energy to run eight Tesco superstores. All excess electricity will be sold back to the national grid.

Tesco bosses say the aim is to reduce the supermarket giant's carbon footprint.

David North, Tesco's community and government director, said: "We have set ourselves stretching targets to reduce the carbon intensity of our business, and energy from renewable sources is a key part of our strategy.

"We have identified five sites that would be suitable for further biomass technology, and are making big investments in wind turbines too."

Building work at the distribution centre will begin shortly, and the power plant will be operational later next year.

Straw - which will be provided by local farmers - is a renewable material rather than a fossil fuel, and the minimal carbon dioxide emitted is equal to the amount it has absorbed while growing, effectively making the energy carbon neutral.

The supermarket estimates that it will have recouped the £12 million set-up costs within six years. After this time, energy generated by the plant will cost Tesco less than is currently charged for grid electricity.

The plant will work by burning straw, which powers a steam turbine, generating electricity.

The particulates are then bag-filtered to keep them from escaping into the air. The only waste from the process is a fine fly-ash, which can be used in other industries, such as brick-making.