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Business converting natural gas to energy
Walmart invests in $125,000 project
Porterville Walmart Distribution Center has taken one more step toward its goal of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy.
Already harnessing solar power to lower energy costs, the distribution center will soon create additional electrical power thanks to three unique fuel cell units currently being placed.
The units, which are placed outdoors, have fuel cells which convert natural gas such as oxygen to hydrogen, and eventually into electricity and heat, leaving behind minimal to no trace amounts of pollutants.
“Our goal is to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy. This is one way to make progress toward that goal,” said Brooke Buchanan, spokesperson for the Porterville Walmart Distribution Center.
“It is 600 kilowatts and will generate 3,300,000 megawatts of base-load power every year — enough to take care of 37 percent of the energy needs of the Distribution Center. Power from the solar project already reduces grid use by 7 percent. The fuel cell will provide an additional 27 percent savings.”
Buchanan would not release dollar amounts, saying Walmart does not disclose how much the project is expected to save the company, nor how much the units cost.
However, the City of Porterville's Building Department reported a permit was issued on Jan. 4 for a clean-energy server with an undisclosed number of fuel cells. The project was listed with a value of $125,000.
It isn’t the first time Walmart has taken on such a project. In August 2010, a permit was also issued by the city for the installation of three fuel cells at the Henderson Avenue store.
That permit listed a project value of $150,000 in labor and material.
Walmart has 26 fuel cell installations in the U.S., delivering 65 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. Worldwide, Walmart has more than 180 renewable energy projects in operation or development, generating enough energy to power 78,000 American homes annually.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.