Solar-powered electric trailers replace dirty diesel in Northwest grocery fleets

Columbia-Willamette Clean Cities Coalition announces grant that replaces diesel-powered refrigerated trailers with all-electric units.

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electric trailer for grocery delivery

Columbia-Willamette Keeping Your Food Cold with The Power of the Sun Under New Federal Grant

February 13th, 2020: Portland, Oregon – The Columbia-Willamette Clean Cities Coalition (CWCCC) announced once again it was doing its part to clean up Pacific Northwest air with solar-electric technology. President of the Coalition, Chris Galati, shared the news of the Coalition’s second-such federal grant to replace diesel-powered refrigerated trailers, known as reefers, with all-electric units in two fleets and install charging infrastructure in a third. 

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Refrigerated trailers delivering your groceries to local supermarkets keep their cool with diesel-powered Trailer Refrigeration Units, or TRUs. These glorified refrigerators-on-wheels are essential to keeping your kale fresh or your kombucha cold for its trip from a warehouse to your local store. They also spew tons of harmful carbon dioxide (CO2), diesel particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) and nitrous oxides (NOx), even when docked for loading and unloading. Electric options can eliminate these emissions.

The CWCCC was awarded $504,606 in US EPA Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) funds to replace diesel reefers with all-electric solar-powered units in DPI Specialty Foods of Tualatin, Oregon, and Pacific Coast Fruits of Portland, Oregon. The grant will also fund charging infrastructure for the electric reefers at Pacific Coast Fruits and Utility Trailer & Equipment Northwest in Richland, Washington. Investments in electric technology can significantly reduce fuel and maintenance costs, as well as carbon emissions.

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Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley: “Here in the Willamette Valley, we have seen all too clearly the effects of climate chaos. We must invest in aggressively reducing carbon pollution—and transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in America. Grants like this help drive the transition to zero-emission vehicles. I applaud CWCCC for its dedication to sustainable transportation, and look forward to seeing these electric trailers delivering groceries to stores across the region.  I will continue to use my seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to be a strong federal partner to companies in Oregon and across the nation that are working to reduce diesel pollution and their carbon footprint.”

 “We’re committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, diesel emissions, and saving fleets money with new alternative fuels and technologies where economically practical.” says CWCCC President Chris Galati. “US EPA’s DERA program is a phenomenal program to deploy real-world solutions and achieve these goals. We’re thankful for this second award opportunity to share with our fleet partners” 

The CWCCC is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, US Department of Energy program, and public-private partnership with fleets operating in Oregon and Southern Washington. They have provided “fuel agnostic” resources and expertise to their fleet member for over 25 years to displace the equivalent of 34.5 million gallons of gasoline, 320,000 pounds of NOx and 257,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. 

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