Bloom energy servers, like those Stop & Shop will install at 40 of its stores, in a snow storm
The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. will power 40 of its stores in Massachusetts and New York with Bloom Energy servers, with the goal of providing clean, reliable, 24/7 electricity in an AlwaysON Microgrid configuration that will keep energy on at the locations even during grid power outages caused by bad weather or other unforeseen events.
The solution is expected to slash Stop & Shop’s carbon emissions by more than 15,000 metric tons annually, the equivalent of removing about 3,200 cars from the road. Bloom also virtually eliminates smog-forming pollution and particulate emissions, according to the San Jose, Calif.-based company.
“Our stores are an important community resource for our customers, particularly when severe weather strikes,” noted Gordon Reid, president of Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop. “Whether customers need to stock up on food, batteries, flashlights, other emergency items or even their prescription medications, we know how vital the products and services our stores provide are. These servers will not only reduce our stores’ impact on the environment, but also ensure our stores can stay open when needed most.”
The Bloom fuel cells to be installed at each of the 40 Stop & Shop stores will be configured as a microgrid able to operate independently of the local electric grid. Because the servers receive their natural gas or biogas fuel through the underground pipeline system, they’re much less susceptible to the effects of extreme weather than are overhead power lines, Bloom explained.
“Clean, reliable, resilient power is critical to keeping businesses and families working,” said KR Sridhar, founder, Bloom’s chairman and CEO. “We’re proud to give Stop & Shop customers the peace of mind that their local stores will remain open before, during and after severe storms or natural disasters that disrupt the electricity grid.”
The servers convert natural gas or biogas fuel into electricity without combustion, using solid oxide fuel cell technology, and they use no water in normal operation. With the energy servers, Stop & Shop anticipates saving the fresh water system 1.6 billion-plus gallons annually.
Installations of the microgrids are set to begin early this year at Stop & Shop stores on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod, followed by additional stores in that state and on New York’s Long Island. The Massachusetts projects are made possible by a collaboration with the sponsors of Mass Save, including Cape Light Compact, Eversource and National Grid.
Bloom servers are already in place at Stop & Shop stores in Mount Vernon and Peekskill, N.Y.
Stop & Shop’s other sustainability moves include the opening of a green energy facility in Freetown, Mass., in 2016. The facility features an anaerobic digester to convert food that can’t be sold or donated into energy to power the company’s nearby distribution center. To date, the facility has processed more than 160 million pounds of inedible food from 200 of its stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut and produced roughly 15 million kilowatt-hours, or enough energy to power 1,850 homes a year.
Stop & Shop employs more than 61,000 associates and operates 400-plus stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. Parent company Ahold Delhaize USA is No. 4 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.