Ace Hardware will receive a $10,000 grant from the Sacremento, Calif.-area Placer County Air Pollution District to help fund continued testing of pallet trucks powered by zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells.
The trucks are based out of Ace's Retail Support Center in Sacremento. The 1,028,000-square-foot facility represents the co-op's second largest distribution center in size and volume. Testing for the initiative began in February, according to a press release issued by Placer County. Initial testing consisted of replacing lead-acid batteries with hydrogen fuel cells.
"We're encouraged by the initial findings and anxious to see the complete test results to determine the viability of expanding the use of this hydrogen fuel cell technology in this and other facilities," said Bill Bauman, vp-retail support for Ace Hardware.
In 2005, Ace began testing biodiesel fuel -- an 80/20 mix of vegetable oil and diesel fuel -- in several tractors in its Midwestern fleet. Today, Ace uses biodiesel in the entire fleet for its Retail Support Center located in Princeton, Ill., and has plans to roll it out to several other distribution centers across the country.
Other environmental initiatives by Ace have included installing energy-efficient T5 lighting in the majority of its distribution centers and reducing volatile organic compounds in private-label paint products sold at retail.
Also on the consumer side, Ace developed "Helpful Earth Choices," a labeling program meant to help customers identify environmentally friendly products and sustainable items.