“Smart” refills and funding pots for Lidl’s green hydrogen: the sustainable successes of the week


Published weekly, this series shows how companies and sustainability professionals are striving to achieve their “Mission Possible” through the campaign’s five key pillars: energy, resources, infrastructure, mobility and business management.

Across the UK and around the world, leading businesses, cities, states and regions are turning their environmental ambitions into action. Here we round up five positive sustainability stories from this week.

ENERGY: Funding approval granted for green hydrogen facility in Germany

Just a few weeks after planning approval has been granted for what will be the world’s largest green hydrogen production facility in Utah, funding approval has been granted for a smaller facility in Germany.

Energy giant RWE has invested 30 million euros and secured an additional 8 million euros from the state of Lower Saxony to bring the electrolyser online for a trial period of at least three years. The site will be co-located with its Emsland gas-fired power station and will have a total electrolyser capacity of 14 MW.

If the planning approval and construction phases of the project proceed on time, the electrolyser facility will begin producing green hydrogen in early 2023 at a rate of up to 290 kg per hour. The hydrogen produced at the facility will be used for blending for home heating or to generate electricity.

RWE said in a statement that this trial will be a key milestone as it aims to bring 100 MW of electrolyzer capacity online in Germany by 2024, rising to 300 MW by 2026.

RESOURCES: Lidl launches ‘smart’ refill station for laundry detergents

Lockdown restrictions in the UK have presented challenges for charging in retail environments. With restrictions now fully lifted in England, several retailers are moving forward with new plans to reduce consumer packaging.

Among them is Lidl, which this week launched an innovative laundry detergent refill station at its Kingswinford supermarket. The retailer has worked with start-up Algramo to manufacture refillable bottles equipped with smart chips. The chip allows the refill machine to register and recognize the bottle. Once the bottle is filled, the machine prints a ticket with a barcode allowing you to pay at the cash desk.

Lidl said in a statement that the innovation should make filling “simple and quick” without “any annoying spillage created by manual filling machines”. Customers will also be incentivized to use the charging station with a discount; refills cost 20p less.

The ‘smart’ charging station will be tested for six months and dispense four products from Lidl’s own-brand ‘Formil’ laundry line.

MOBILITY: Launch of a new project to improve the accessibility of electric vehicles for motorists and passengers with disabilities

Image: UK Power Grids

UK Power Networks this week announced a new partnership with charity Motability to help disabled motorists access electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

The two organizations launched the ‘Enable’ partnership after surveying 1,000 disabled UK Power Networks customers, finding that 71% would delay switching to an electric vehicle due to a lack of accessible charging infrastructure in the streets and in public places. Common challenges include EV chargers being located with small parking bays rather than handicapped bays, or chargers too high to be reached by wheelchair users. Home charging will not be an option for everyone; it is estimated that around half of households in areas covered by UK power grids will need to use on-street chargers due to a lack of a suitable driveway or garage at home.

So far, ‘Enable’ has engaged with 20 local authorities and the UK government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), as well as several of the UK’s largest charging station installers. UK. Data will be collected on existing and planned EV infrastructure, and staff will assess how these plans can better include accessible infrastructure in the right places.

“People with disabilities are more dependent on cars for door-to-door journeys and have far fewer travel options due to the inaccessibility of transport, so it is essential that accessibility is built into the workplace from the outset. electric vehicle infrastructure,” said Catherine Marris, chief innovation officer at Motability. . “Motability is sponsoring the British Standards Institute (BSI) to produce the world’s first standard on accessible charging, and many organizations will then need to work together to make accessibility a reality – from local councils and distribution network operators to manufacturers and installers.”

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Secured Green Loan for Passivhaus Student Residence

Last week’s roundup of sustainability successes included the opening of the UK’s first leisure center built to Passivhaus standards, in Exeter.

This week we highlight another development that is aiming for Passivhaus certification – an 852-bed student accommodation development in Battersea, London. Student accommodation provider Urbanest has signed a £148m loan from LaSalle to help deliver the scheme.

Urbanest is aiming for BREEAM Outstanding and Passivhaus ‘classic’ certifications for the development, which will also include offices, a business incubator, cafe and pub. It aims to have housing ready for the academic year beginning in September 2024. The building is expected to consume 90% less energy for its operations than a comparable building without integrated Passivhaus principles.

CORPORATE MANAGEMENT: Ocado donates £500,000 to London charity fighting hunger

According to Kantar, the average British family will see their annual grocery bill rise by £180 in 2022 as increases in energy and ingredient prices are passed on to customers. The Food Standards Agency estimates that 15% of people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland faced food insecurity in 2021, with many organizations fearing that proportion could rise in 2022.

This week, Asda announced a new nationwide food drive for the Trussell Trust’s network of food banks, with customers at 390 department stores being encouraged to donate goods and cash.

Elsewhere, Ocado announced a £500,000 donation to London charity The Felix Project, which redistributes surplus food to charities and schools. The donation will be used to purchase electric vans and install charging stations for these vehicles.

Ocado has already been donating surplus products through The Felix Project for several years and estimates the partnership has donated 1.6 million meals. The new funding was announced as Ocado launched its second “Zoom” site in Newham. ‘Zoom’ is a fast grocery delivery service, with all deliveries made using an electric moped, car or bicycle.

Zoom by Ocado manager George Dean said: “We are committed to being the best neighbor we can be, contributing to the community by supporting local vendors and through charitable partnerships, in particular our ongoing work with The Felix Project. in Poplar.”

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