In a pilot program at 37 stores, Menards will open a series of propane-fueling stations designed for propane-powered vehicles and cylinders used on gas grills and recreational vehicles. The program is a partnership with CleanFUEL USA, a leading supplier of propane autogas infrastructure and engine systems.
The home improvement retailer will conduct the pilot at Menards locations throughout Illinois, as well as its Eau Claire West store in Wisconsin.
The new autogas fueling stations are a collaborative effort between CleanFUEL USA and Ferrellgas, a nationwide propane provider. CleanFUEL USA provided the dispenser and 1,000-gallon tanks, and Ferrellgas provided installation services and propane for each location.
The autogas station project was funded through a $12 million grant from the Department of Energy's (DOE) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Texas State Technical College (TSTC) serves as the lead grantee of the funds, which support the development of a national propane Autogas refueling network, incentives to convert school buses and other fleet vehicles to alternative fuels, and training for green jobs.
In addition to installing the autogas fueling stations, Menards partnered with Icom North America to convert 140 new Ford pick-up trucks to propane autogas for store-operation use at the 37 Menards test locations. The Icom system allows the propane vehicle to enjoy similar drive-ability and performance to gasoline with reduced emissions and large fuel-cost savings. These same stores will also be receiving propane-powered forklifts to replace their existing diesel-powered forklifts, with the changeover already taking place at Eau Claire West. Menards also plans to steadily convert its store operation vehicles from gasoline and diesel to propane at other store locations, adding propane autogas fueling stations in the process.