Walmart to debut renewable energy engine in trucking fleet

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 2,796 views 

Shown is a Walmart truck with the new Cummins engine.

Walmart will soon use its first compressed natural gas engine in its private trucking fleet as the retailer works toward zero emissions in its massive transportation operations by 2040. Cummins developed the 15-liter engine, which Chevron will fuel.

Walmart said the truck would make its inaugural trip from Indiana to California later this month, making pit stops along the way to refuel at Chevron stations. The truck was in Bentonville on Monday (April 17) and will end its inaugural journey in Anaheim, Calif., on May 1 in time to be featured at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo, according to the retailer.

Fernando Cortes, senior vice president of transportation at Walmart, said the company is focused on sustainable solutions that can have a lasting impact.

“We are proud to team with Cummins and Chevron to develop industry-leading advancements that pave toward a lower carbon future,” he said.

The new engine debut comes about a year after Walmart announced several initiatives in its Class 8 transportation fleet and the goal to achieve zero emissions by 2040.

While the trucking industry has historically relied on diesel fuel, a move toward renewable natural gas is an important step toward lowering fleet emissions, the release noted. Renewable natural gas is produced when biomethane from decomposing organic matter – such as cow manure or landfill waste – and is captured, treated and processed into natural gas. Methane not captured and processed is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) at trapping heat within the atmosphere leading to climate change, the release stated.

Cummins execs said working with Walmart to test new products like the X15N engine provides real-world data that help validate the performance of the engine prior to moving into full production. Chevron’s contribution to the partnership involves providing access to CNG fuel that will enable faster adoption of alternative technologies in the future, said Puneet Jhawar, general manager of Spark Ignited Products for Cummins.

Walmart operates the largest private U.S. trucking fleet with more than 13,000 drivers, roughly 9,000 tractors and 80,000 trailers driving 1.1 billion miles each year. Walmart’s massive trucking fleet comprises about 24% of the company’s direct greenhouse emissions, the retailer noted in its recent sustainability report.

The partnership with Cummins and Chevron was announced in June 2022 for renewable natural gas engines to run on dairy farm waste. The deal called for Walmart to receive a few of the engines to test in its trucks. The exact number was not disclosed.

“Partnering with Walmart and Cummins on the road trip and demonstration can help us deliver that progress today for the transportation, the industry, and customers who rely on all of our products to advance a lower carbon economy,” said Andy Walz, Chevron’s president of Americas Products.

Walmart also has a test underway for a hydrogen-fueled engine that is being used in yard trucks around distribution centers. The hydrogen fuel cell is manufactured by Capacity in Longview, Texas.