A Supermarket Powered By Tomatoes? Dream On.

Chocolate, human waste, body heat - energy is starting to come from more and more unusual sources these days, and now it's the turn of the humble tomato, which is powering the checkouts, lights and fridges of a new Waitrose supermarket in Rickmansworth.

We couldn’t help but get excited by the introduction above for an article in the Guardian, breathlessly declaring how the new store is being powered by the very same tomatoes that are being sold to its customers. But wait a minute, if the tomatoes are being sold on the shelves, how the heck are they also powering the lights? It may not be as simple as all that after all…
It turns out that the electricity for the store is actually being created through a combined heat and power plant that simultaneously warms the greenhouses where the tomatoes are being cultivated while injecting the growing room with carbon dioxide to improve plant growth. A neat green solution, no doubt, but saying the store is powered by ‘the humble tomato’ is a slight exaggeration, to say the least. Still, we’ve already seen one UK supermarket making deliveries by barge, and another adopting carbon labeling of products, so it is great to see the trend towards greener stores continuing into 2008. ::The Guardian::via site visit::

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