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Posted on June 25, 2009 by  & 

People powered checkouts

Sainsbury's is opening a store where the checkouts will be powered by people; using advanced technology that allows customers to shop and save (the planet that is). In a European first, Sainsbury's is installing a revolutionary invention which creates green energy every time a customer simply drives into the car park to do their shopping.
The system, launched at the supermarket's new green store in Gloucester on Wednesday 17th June means that whenever a vehicle passes over the 'Kinetic Road Plates' in the car park, energy is captured which would otherwise be wasted. Sainsbury's will channel the energy back into the store saving power that would normally be taken from the National Grid.
The 'Kinetic Road Plates' are expected to produce 30 kW of green energy an hour, more than enough to power the store's checkouts. The system, pioneered for Sainsbury's by Peter Hughes of Highway Energy Systems, does not affect the car or fuel efficiency; and drivers feel no disturbance as they drive over the plates.
How it works:
  • Vehicles drive over the road plates placed in the road surface of the car park
  • Plates are rounded so that it does not matter which direction you travel over the ramp
  • The vehicle drives over the plates which are pushed down by the weight of the vehicle
  • This creates rocking motions under the road surface that turn generators
  • The generators create energy which is captured, redirected back to the store, and used as power for the checkouts and for other purposes
Alison Austin, Sainsbury's environment manager, says: "This is revolutionary, not only are we the first to use such cutting-edge technology with our shoppers, but customers can now play a very active role in helping to make their local shop greener, without extra effort or cost. We want to continue offering great value but we also want to make the weekly shop sustainable. Using amazing technology like this helps us reduce our use of carbon and makes Sainsbury's a leading energy-efficient business."
The 'Kinetic Road Plates' are one of many energy-saving measures at Sainsbury's new green store in Gloucester (Gloucester Quays) which opened on Wednesday 17 June. Sainsbury's is leading the field in reducing its carbon footprint both in the construction and the running of its stores. Since the opening of its flagship environmental store in Dartmouth last summer, many environmental measures have now become standard in the design of all new stores.
David Sheehan, Director of Store Development and Construction, Sainsbury's, says: "The new environmental features within the Gloucester Quays store marks a very exciting time in store development. We are able to use cutting edge technology to improve; our services, the store environment for both our customers and colleagues at the same time as ultimately reducing our carbon footprint across the UK."
Source: J Sainsbury plc
Top Image: kinetic road plate outside Sainsbury's. Source: J Sainsbury plc
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