According to The Asahi Shimbun today, fried chicken and French fries will be environmentally friendly choices after Lawson Inc. a convenience store franchise chain in Japan, starts operating its first store that runs on waste oil through biomass power generation.
The waste oil-powered Lawson store, a first for both the franchise operator and the domestic convenience store industry, will open Feb. 5 at the Yumesaki Smart Interchange in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture.
Lawson will collect used cooking oil from its 12,000 or so stores nationwide. The company plans to set up a sustainable system and spread the practice to its other outlets.
The Himeji store will use biodiesel fuel made from oil used to cook fried goods offered in Lawson stores, as well as in industries other than convenience stores.
The outlet will utilize the biomass power generation between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., a time when electricity rates and consumption are high. About 20 percent of the store’s electricity consumption will be covered by the new method, accounting for an annual 36,000 kilowatt-hours.
Combined with solar panels on the roof and energy-efficient refrigerators and freezers, the Himeji store will reduce its energy consumption from electric utilities by 70 percent compared to a typical Lawson store in 2010.
Like solar power, biomass power generation is an eco-friendly method of energy production that does not emit carbon dioxide. Biomass power can also generate electricity more stably than solar panels because it is not affected by the weather.
With the vast majority of the more than 50,000 convenience stores in Japan operating around the clock, reducing energy consumption is a pressing issue for all franchise operators.
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