Waitrose teams up with ITM Power to produce renewable fertiliser

Supermarket chain Waitrose is stepping up its sustainability drive by joining forces with the Technology Strategy Board and ITM Power to develop a system for the production of renewable fertiliser.

Waitrose aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by producing renewable fertiliser

Waitrose aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by producing renewable fertiliser

The Technology Strategy Board is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and is the UK's innovation agency. It brings together business, research and the public sector to support and develop the acceleration of innovative products. It is funding the project led by ITM Power.

Industrial fertiliser production, which involves converting natural gas and other fossil fuels into ammonia, is responsible for a significant proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Waitrose has joined a consortium which also includes ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel specialist, to demonstrate decarbonisation of fertiliser production.

The project has been awarded £1.37million in co-funding from TSB under its Agri-Tech Catalyst programme.

A pilot project to develop integrated electrolyser-based technology will be launched at Waitrose's Leckford Farm in Hampshire.

ITM Power chief executive Graham Cooley said: "We are delighted to be working with Waitrose to produce renewable fertiliser at its UK farm.

"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 stated that it is committed to minimising its impact on the environment by supporting sustainable agriculture. Earlier this year, Waitrose became the second major food retailer to team up with Coca-Cola Enterprises to encourage higher household recycling rates through the launch of a customer pledge scheme.

The ITM power project 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.

Liz Gyekye
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