MORGANTOWN, WV -- Ralphs Supermarkets, a California-based division of the Kroger Co., recently enlisted the help of West Virginia University engine emissions experts to further green its delivery fleet and meet state emissions requirements. The company is currently transitioning half of its truck fleet to compressed natural gas.
Management at Ralphs decided to turn to WVU’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions (CAFEE) for emissions compliance research and guidance.
“Ralphs has been a great research partner for many years,” said Dan Carder, CAFEE director. “The company’s commitment to improving fuel economy among its fleet of vehicles is unparalleled – and its generous lending of its Riverside distribution center, an ideal location for our type of research, helps our engineers and scientists tremendously.”
CAFEE scientists set up shop at Ralphs massive distribution center in Riverside, Calif., and established a staging ground for CAFEE’s mobile emissions laboratory. While at the Ralphs facility, WVU scientists are chassis testing heavy-duty vehicles to ensure the engines are compliant with emissions regulations. They are collecting and examining emissions data from diesel, CNG and dual-fuel engines.
If non-compliance is identified, CAFEE will work with engine, vehicle and exhaust after-treatment systems manufacturers to design and fabricate retrofit solutions to ensure compliance.
“With a huge thrust in natural gas vehicles in California, the current project will provide an excellent comparison of the benefits of advanced natural gas vehicles over older model-year diesel vehicles,” said Arvind Thiruvengadam, a CAFEE researcher. “The comparative emissions data will help enable fleets such as Ralphs to have a better knowledge of the real-world emissions of the various heavy-duty vehicles.”
Results will be shared with both the California Air Resource Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District, which will provide a better understanding of the effectiveness of current regulations.
CAFEE, part of WVU’s Advanced Energy Initiative, has become a national leader in applied and fundamental research in heavy-duty engine emissions. Earlier this year, CAFEE researchers took a 3,000-mile road trip to test new advanced emissions control systems on tractor-trailers. The project included gathering data about how road grades affect motor emissions and fuel economy.