Supermarket forecourts start green revolution

By Anita Awbi

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ethanol fuel, England

Last week Morrison's supermarket chain opened the UK's first
ethanol pump at a forecourt in Norwich - becoming the latest firm
to embrace the burgeoning 'right-on' retail movement.

Harvest BioEthanol E85, produced from beet grown in Somerset, is a mix of 85 per cent alcohol and 15 per cent gasoline. The fuel costs a few pennies less per litre than traditional unleaded petrol but scientists estimate bioethanol fuelled cars produce at least 60 per cent less climate-altering gases than standard vehicles.

Morrisons, Britain's fourth largest supermarket, will roll out a number of pumps across the south of England in the next year to distribute the new UK-made fuel, as the government and the EU back local bio-fuel production.

This follows the news that a major British Sugar refinery will open in Norfolk early next year, with the capability of supplying 70m litres of cleaner, greener fuel.

"Creating demand for this product will, in the medium to long term, present major opportunities for UK farmers to supply their excess cereal capacity to bioethanol manufacturers,"​ Morrison's said in a statement.

Late last year Tesco, the UK's leading retailer, launched E5 - a petrol-based fuel containing five per cent Brazilian ethanol. It is now sold as the firm's leading unleaded offering in 185 forecourts across England.

Together with Cargill and Greenergy, the company is building a plant in Humberside to convert rapeseed oil into biodiesel fuel.

"This plant is a powerful indication of the future importance of this alternative energy source in the UK and it shows that the opportunity is now there,"​ said Tesco chairman David Reid.

"There are currently good returns available from oilseeds, but over and above that this a long term opportunity for British farmers to position themselves at the forefront of a global shift towards renewable fuels."

The retailer has been supplying forecourts for some years and has become a major distributor of fuel in Britain. It has its own petrol stations attached to supermarkets and also has an alliance with Esso.

Other retailers are expected to follow suit and provide ethanol-laced products, as they scrabble to jump on the green bandwagon currently grabbing consumers' attention and the headlines.

Related topics: Market Trends

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