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 serves approximately 500 grocery stores in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Washington DC, and North Carolina, is the largest private fleet of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region.
To power the new trucks, Trillium CNG, a provider of compressed natural gas fueling systems, built and will operate a fast-fill CNG station at Supervalu’s Mechanicsville distribution center. Conversion to natural gas will reduce the fleet’s annual oil consumption by more than one million gallons and result in 1,300 fewer tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
The new trucks and fast-fill station were officially unveiled at a recent ceremony attended by Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng, as well as several local and company officials.
Using Trillium’s 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.
Besides serving hundreds of independently owned grocery stores, the Mechanicsville distribution center supplies Supervalu’s Farm Fresh Food & Pharmacy banner, which operates 42 stores primarily in Virginia, as well as more than 50 Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores in northern Virginia, Washington DC, and Baltimore MD.
Volvo Trucks designed the new trucks specifically to meet Supervalu’s grocery hauling needs, and each features the latest innovations in clean-burning compressed natural gas. The trucks were all built at Volvo’s Dublin VA plant, where all of the company’s North American vehicles are constructed.
The Mechanicsville distribution center has a total of 105 tractors in its fleet, and has set a goal of converting about 65% of its total fleet to natural gas by 2015.
For more information, visit www.supervalu.com.