John Lewis looks to fuel cells

The John Lewis Partnership has agreed an alliance with Guildford based AFC Energy to evaluate fuel cell technology. The retailer is hoping the cells could generate low carbon electricity to […]

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By Sumit Bose

The John Lewis Partnership has agreed an alliance with Guildford based AFC Energy to evaluate fuel cell technology. The retailer is hoping the cells could generate low carbon electricity to power both its Waitrose supermarkets and John Lewis department stores.

A memorandum of understanding between both companies is part of various measures John Lewis is exploring as it aims to cut its CO2 emissions by 15% by the end of 2021 while doubling the size of the business.

Toby Marlow, Engineering Manager for the John Lewis Partnership told ELN:”To meet our CO2 reduction targets one of the things we’re exploring is moving into the space of self-generation. For example in the Isle of Wight we’re building a woodchip based biomass plant to power our store.

“We see AFC Energy as a company with good potential for fuel cells – running highly efficiently on Hydrogen – which uptil now, has been very expensive. We’ll explore the potential of the technology as we are quite excited by it as we could see the cells powering our stores and us relying on mains supply only as a back up.”

Mr Marlow also added both staff and customers at John Lewis were backing their low Carbon journey.

“We’ve 70,000 odd staff and millions of customers and I think they care very much about energy use, infact we are constantly being challenged by our customer base to cut our CO2,” he said.

Ian Balchin, Deputy Chairman, AFC Energy added: “AFC Energy and the John Lewis Partnership have the opportunity to demonstrate a revolutionary solution to distributed low carbon energy.”