Carrefour Plans Closed Cycle Waste to Biomethane Test

| France

Carrefour waste-to-fuel model

Carrefour, a French multinational retailer headquartered in Boulogne Billancourt, France plans to introduce the first lorries running on biomethane fuel produced from waste from its stores. It is preparing to test three trucks — for each lorry operating on 100% renewable “green” energy, deliveries made to stores will be carbon neutral.

Developed in partnership with GNVERT, the sustainable mobility operator for the GDF SUEZ Group, the carrier Perrenot and the vehicle manufacturer IVECO (part of the Fiat Industrial Group), the pilot scheme in the Lille region will involve deliveries to around ten Carrefour hypermarkets.

Described by Carrefour as a revolution in the field of urban logistics and goods transport, the company is keen to pursue its commitment to sustainable development and is innovating by introducing recycling of its biowaste (fruits and vegetables, plants, baked goods, meat waste, etc.) to produce biomethane fuel.

In concrete terms, the biowaste produced by the hypermarkets is recovered, then processed in a methanisation plant (a technology similar to composting, but run under industrial conditions). The methanisation process produces a biogas, which is in turn purified and converted into biomethane fuel. It is then distributed to one of the GNVERT stations. This 2nd generation biofuel is used to power vehicles delivering goods to Carrefour stores: so the whole process comes full circle.

This win-win process makes a considerable contribution to reducing the environmental impact of delivering goods to Carrefour stores: using biofuel reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and avoids the production of fine particles by the lorry.

The system offers multiple benefits:

  • No emissions of fine particles, in response to public health concerns
  • Reduction of the environmental impact of deliveries to Carrefour stores (neutral carbon balance and reduction of polluting emissions)
  • Fifty per cent (50%) reduction in lorry noise for greater comfort for residents
  • A practical experiment in energy self-sufficiency for deliveries to stores (as seen with the hypermarkets involved in the pilot)

As soon as the amendment to the decree that will allow it to proceed is published, Carrefour will introduce the first vehicles running on biomethane fuel onto roads in the Lille region. The lorries will handle deliveries of goods for around ten Carrefour stores in the North of France, including hypermarkets in Lille, Calais, Douai, Lomme, Hazebrouck, Valenciennes, Wasquehal, etc.

Lorries running on biomethane fuel have a range of almost 400 km, which is enough to cover the needs of a daily round trip. An initial review has been planned for a few months’ time, with a view to implementing a wider roll-out of the scheme.

(This article compiled using information from a Carrefour France press release)

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