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Ukrop’s Super Markets, Inc. said it is recycling the soy oil from its chicken-frying operation, and processing it into biodiesel fuel for its fleet of 15 trucks and 45 refrigerated trailers, the latest in a series of efforts to promote environmental sustainability through the use of alternative energy sources.
The Richmond, Va.-based chain, with 28 stores, said on average its fleet travels some 1.3 million miles per year using about 275,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Currently, Ukrop’s is collecting this oil from 11 of its stores.
“Ukrop’s expects to locally produce 50,000 to 65,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel per year,” said the grocer’s director of technical services, Pat Hadden. “Our local Richmond partner, RECO Biodiesel, Inc., will pick up the chicken-fryer oil from the participating Ukrop's and take it to their operations to make B100 biodiesel.”
Another local company, Southside Fuel, will “splash blend” the B100 biodiesel to make an industry standard 15 percent blend of B15 biodiesel, Hadden added.“At this time, we cannot exceed the 15 percent blend of biodiesel due to the technical requirement of our fleet’s equipment,” he explained. “We anticipate creating more than enough of this clean-burning, alternative fuel to run our local truck fleet for an entire year.”
Hadden, who also leads Ukrop’s composting program that has kept more than 16 million pounds of the grocer’s fruit and vegetable trimmings out of area landfills since 2002, added, “In a sense, we will be using our oil twice, helping to reduce our carbon footprint. In addition, the locally sourced, recycled vessels used to collect the frying oil are environmentally friendly.”
Ukrop’s said it began assessing the feasibility of reusing the oil from its chicken-frying operation to fuel its truck fleet in 2005.