Wal-Mart to test biodiesel in hybrid truck fleet

By Bryan Sims | January 15, 2009
Web exclusive posted Feb. 6, 2009, at 9:21 a.m. CST

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., as part of the company's efforts to build on its progress in developing a more sustainable trucking fleet, has made a commitment to conduct a pilot-scale program testing two new types of heavy-duty commercial hybrid trucks and two alternative-fueled heavy-duty trucks.

The company has actively engaged several suppliers to develop and test these new technologies. Wal-Mart will test these new technologies throughout the year.

The new trucks include:
  • Fifteen trucks operating in the Buckeye, Ariz., distribution center will be converted to run on waste greases; primarily from waste brown grease from Wal-Mart stores. In addition, the remaining trucks will run on a B20 blend made from yellow grease.

  • Five Peterbilt Model 386 heavy-duty hybrid trucks with diesel-electric hybrid power systems developed by Eaton Corp. and PACCAR will be based in Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Apple Valley, Calif., as well as the Washington D.C. and Baltimore regions.

  • A full-propulsion Arvin Meritor diesel-electric hybrid that will initially operate in the Detroit metro area.

  • Four Peterbilt Model 386 trucks and one yard truck, which operates only on the distribution center property, will operate on liquid natural gas. These trucks are part of a partnership with the Mojave Air Quality Management District and will operate out of the distribution center in Southern California.

"In order to meet our goal of doubling our fleet efficiency, we are taking an active role in the development of these technologies," said Chris Sultemeier, senior vice president of transportation for Wal-Mart Stores. "We look forward to determining if these technologies will help reduce our environmental footprint, are viable for our business and provide a return on investment."

Between 2005 and 2008, Wal-Mart achieved more than a 25 percent increase in efficiency within its private fleet, while reducing its carbon dioxide emissions and fuel use. This goal was reached by using a combination of new, innovative technologies, better delivery routes and by loading its trailers more efficiently, according to the company. Now, Wal-Mart is working toward its goal of doubling its fleet efficiency by 2015, improving on its 2005 baseline goal.
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