Biomethane lorry, a circular solution


One of our key aims is to tackle food wastage! The circular economy is an increasingly important aspect of how we operate. And one of its cornerstones is the use of biomethane, as covered by the Biomethane Lorry plan. But what exactly does that mean? And why should we focus on waste?

It was back in 2012 – on discovering a few alarming statistics – that we decided to launch our waste tackling initiative: a third of all food throughout the world is thrown out, food wastage accounts for 7% of global CO2 emissions and nearly 4000 lorries make deliveries to Carrefour stores throughout France every day. A solution had to be found urgently for transport and doing something about wastage.

Waste recycled
The first thing we had to do was reduce our waste. For that, we work alongside our suppliers, cutting out any unnecessary packaging that is not needed to transport, protect or preserve our products.

Then we had to improve our processes, and we set ourselves one clear target: recycle all of our waste. Our Anti-waste initiative started to yield results immediately. In 2014, for example, 65% of the total waste generated by Carrefour stores was reused or recycled – that's 3.5% more than in 2013.

A virtuous cycle
The term "circular economy" alludes to the idea of a loop – one in which waste can become a resource. Using methanisation as a means of converting waste into a cleaner type of fuel seemed the most obvious thing for us to do if we were going to embrace this circular economy.

But how does it work? The biowaste resulting from outdated products in our hypermarkets is recovered, then processed in a methanisation plant.
Methanisation is a biological process which decomposes animal or plant-based bacteria, fermenting this bacteria so that the gas it contains is released. The gas is referred to as biogas, and up to 70% of it is methane. Then before it can be used as a fuel, this biogas needs to be purified. The biomethane is then sent out to the service stations that make up the GNVERT network (Engie) or Bio-GNV (Air Liquide) and is used to power Carrefour delivery vehicles.

An award-winning initiative
By using biomethane to power lorries, their CO2 emissions can be reduced by 70%. They generate no fine particles and noise levels are halved. The initiative is in the process of being rolled out in Lille, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Lyon and Paris, with the opening of the new Aulnay-sous-Bois delivery platform, with the objective of more than 400 trucks running on biomethane from here. the end of the year.

Tribute was paid to it by the Business Institute at its annual evening on 11 April. It was chosen by a panel of citizens from among fifty or so other initiatives intended to strengthen the trust that people in France have in companies.

Using more responsible logistics methods for entering towns and getting products from stores to customers is perfectly in line with the Carrefour 2022 plan. Clean delivery is a central issue – one that we are focusing on by consolidating our biomethane distribution network.

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