The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, unveiled a clean energy production system that will convert food that can’t be sold or donated into clean energy to help power its Kroger FEED Recovery inbodyRalphs/Food 4 Less Compton, Calif., distribution center.

The anaerobic conversion system will process more than 55,000 tons of organic food waste into renewable energy annually and provide power for the 650,000-plus-square-foot distribution center. By diverting that food waste—equivalent to 150 tons per day—the system will also reduce area truck trips by more than 500,000 miles each year. The Kroger Recovery System uses a sophisticated process to convert the carbon in organic material into a renewable source of methane.

“We are committed to finding solutions for food waste and clean energy, and we believe this is a meaningful step forward,” says Rodney McMullen, president and COO of Kroger, in a press release. “Investing in this project is a good business decision for Kroger, and most importantly, an extraordinary opportunity to benefit the environment.”

The Kroger Recovery System utilizes anaerobic digestion, a naturally occurring process, to transform unsold organics and onsite food processing effluent into renewable biogas. This biogas is then turned into power for onsite operations. The process is carried out in an enclosed, oxygen-free environment, which means the process takes up less space and generates no odors. The system will provide enough renewable biogas to offset more than 20% of the energy demand of the Ralphs/Food 4 Less distribution center. Combining the use of renewable energy power with more than 150 zero emission fuel cell forklifts, the Ralphs/Food4Less distribution center is now one of the greenest and most efficient of the Kroger group.

The Kroger Recovery System is designed and operated by FEED Resource Recovery Inc., a Boston-based clean technology company. FEED Resource Recovery designed and implemented a groundbreaking Zero Waste solution called R2S, which is a proprietary approach that leverages customers’ existing transportation and distribution systems to generate clean, sustainable power for onsite operations, reduce emissions and save millions of dollars on waste removal costs.