SUPERVALU INC. has purchased 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 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.
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.
In addition to 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, D.C. and Baltimore.
SUPERVALU operates 20 distribution centers across the United States and has slightly more than 400 trucks in its national company-owned fleet, excluding its Save-A-Lot network that operates separately. The Mechanicsville distribution center has a total of 105 tractors in its fleet, and has set a goal of converting approximately 65% of its total fleet to natural gas by 2015.