Food is now arriving at grocery store shelves across the East Coast with a smaller carbon footprint, thanks to the recent purchase by SUPERVALU
INC. of 35 Class 8 Volvo trucks that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG). The fleet, which operates out of SUPERVALU’s Mechanicsville, Va., distribution center and currently serves approximately 500 grocery stores in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina, is the largest private fleet of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region.
To power the new trucks, Trillium CNG
, a leading provider of compressed natural gas fueling solutions, built and will operate a fast-fill CNG station at SUPERVALU’s Mechanicsville distribution center. The conversion to natural gas will reduce the fleet’s annual oil consumption by more than 1 million gallons and result in 1,300 fewer tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the environmental benefits, the new CNG fleet and fast-fill station is expected to reduce SUPERVALU’s operating costs given the lower cost of compressed natural gas.
The new trucks and fast-fill station were officially unveiled today at a ceremony attended by Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng, as well as several local and company officials.
“Our decision to transition to natural-gas-powered trucks is in keeping with SUPERVALU’s long-standing commitment to do business in a sustainable manner,” said Mike Lech, vice president of logistics for SUPERVALU’s Eastern Region. “This project is not only good for the environment, but also for the bottom line, as each natural-gas-powered truck will cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce fuel usage for our fleet. We’re proud of this effort and the many great partners who helped make it a reality.”
Utilizing Trillium’s high-performance fast-fill hydraulic intensifier, the new station can fuel trucks at a rate of 8-to-10 gallons per minute.
The fill station is the first of two Trillium stations planned in the Richmond, Va., area. The second is under construction at GRTC Transit System, the public transit agency jointly owned by the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County, and is expected to be operational in three to four months. By the end of the second quarter 2014, Trillium CNG will be operating 81 CNG stations nationwide, with 54 of them having public access.