In keeping with its low emissions targets, UK retailer the John Lewis Partnership is in talks with a low cost alkaline fuel cells producer, it was announced today.
John Lewis has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AFC Energy, developer of the fuel cells, to explore the possibility of incorporating its products into its retail stores.
If the retailer is sufficiently impressed with costs involved in running these cells, it plans to trial their use at a Waitrose store.
Toby Marlow, Engineering Manager at John Lewis, said: “The John Lewis Partnership has identified the potential of AFC Energy as a key partner in our efforts to reduce emissions as we continue to expand.
“Their alkaline fuel cell gives us the opportunity to make clean electricity on site: it is a revolutionary prospect with exciting potential. This first demonstration could be the beginning of a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.”
The partnership plans to cut its carbon emissions by 15 per cent by the end of its 2020/21 financial year and predicts that as much as 200,000 tonnes of emission could be saved by the retailer taking 150 of its stores off the national electricity grid.
Alkaline fuel cells work by converting hydrogen and pure oxygen into water, heat and electricity, and AFC Energy’s model claims to significantly reduce carbon emission when used to help power commercial buildings.
Ian Balchin, Deputy Chairman of AFC Energy, commented: “AFC Energy and the John Lewis Partnership have the opportunity to demonstrate a revolutionary solution to distributed low carbon energy.
“Together we will be able to translate growing demand for low carbon solutions into real-terms cost reduction. I look forward to the prospect of progressing our mutual commitment beyond the MoU.”
Other major retailers currently experimenting with energy saving schemes include Tesco, which last month created four wind turbines at its distribution centres, and Marks & Spencer which is set to open its most sustainable store later this month.