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Stop & Shop facility turns food into energy

NBC 10 News got an exclusive for-television look at the Stop & Shop’s Green Energy Facility as the busy summer season continues for the large supermarket chain. (WJAR)

NBC 10 News got an exclusive for-television look at the Stop & Shop’s Green Energy Facility as the busy summer season continues for the large supermarket chain.

The Freetown facility processes spoiled food and items it cannot donate and produces energy to run the warehouse nearby.

“It produces energy for our 1.1 million-square-foot facility on site,” Distribution Services manager Roger Beliveau said. “It produces about 40 percent of the energy we use to run it.”

Each day, an average of 95 tons of food from 208 stores goes through what is called “anaerobic digestion.” The amount varies season to season.

“Now in the summer, we’ve actually got more than 100 tons a day,” Beliveau said.

From there, it gets complicated. Plant power engineer Becky Nichols explained a bit of the process.

“The blending system separates the organics from that packaging,” Nichols said. “It takes out all the residuals, all that packaging -- inorganics, glass, metal and what we’re left with is this clean organic milkshake.”

Biogas is captured and down the line, the electrical power is created. Leftover material is turned into fertilizer and compost.

The company hopes to be waste-free by 2020.

Beliveau said Stop & Shop remains the largest contributor to the Rhode Island Food Bank.

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