VANCOUVER—American retail giant Kroger Co. has inked a deal with Westport Innovations Inc. to outfit a handful of its natural gas-powered trucks with liquefied natural gas (LNG) tank systems developed by the British Columbia-based firm.
According to Westport, Kroger has placed an order for 40 of its iCE PACK systems—a cutting edge tank system that runs cold or warm LNG—to be installed on natural gas-powered Freightliner trucks.
The first pilot program of the iCE PACK-equipped trucks will launch at one of the company’s Los Angeles distribution centres.
“(Kroger) has a strong commitment to finding energy efficient solutions for business operations, and to reducing our carbon footprint,” Ashley White, logistics sustainability manager with Kroger, said in a statement.
“Adopting liquefied natural gas for transportation with the Westport iCE PACK … makes both environmental and economic sense.”
The Freightliner trucks used for the pilot will also feature the Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine.
Running on domestically-sourced LNG costs an average of $1.50 per gallon equivalent less than traditional diesel fuel, according to Westport.
“Westport iCE PACK provides Kroger’s natural gas trucking fleet with a cost-effective way to help meet their sustainability goals,” said Mark Aubry, vice-president of sales and marketing at Westport.
“As one of our first customers of iCE PACK, our latest technology for fleets running on LNG, Kroger clearly demonstrates their leadership in identifying new solutions that help continuously improve their fleet efficiency.”
All 40 trucks will be delivered to Kroger by the end of summer 2014
Kroger is one of the world’s largest retailers, with over 2,600 supermarkets in the United States.