In a pilot program designed to reduce GHG emissions and safety risks and provide better clean food preparation in mobile food vending, the Big Apple will be home to the next generation of eco-friendly food carts.
Food carts, while being convenient for consumers and a good small business venture for foodies and entrepreneurs, are also a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution, as well as being potential public safety hazards from their onboard propane tanks. And in a metropolis like New York City, with some 8000 mobile food carts on the streets, the environmental and health effects of these kitchens on wheels can add up to quite a bit of an impact on residents and visitors.
However, there's a new breed of mobile food cart that could help to clean up the environmental footprint of street vendors, and a pilot program will be trialling some 500 of them on the streets of NYC this summer, in a strategic partnership between the city and MOVE Systems, the maker of the MRV100 cart.
The MRV100, which includes solar panels, rechargeable battery banks, a "federally certified heavy-duty fuel tank and low emission CNG" fuel system, a hybrid generator system, and a state-of-the-art mobile kitchen setup, could help to cut GHG emissions by 60% and to slash NOx pollution by 95%.
"Our fuel system is designed for heavy-duty vehicle standards and commercial use. We have adapted hybrid car technology to replace generators that are often as loud as chainsaws. Our solar, natural gas, and battery powered electrical system, engineered specifically for mobile food vending, reduces generator noise by half and decreases climate change emissions by two-thirds. This hybrid system is not only cleaner and quieter, it is also more powerful and reliable." - MOVE Systems
According to MOVE, the average cost of a food cart is somewhere in the range of $15,000 to $25,000, so the pilot program, which will supply the first 500 food vendors to sign up with one of the MRV100 models at no cost, is a significant investment in a cleaner, greener, street food ecosystem. The funds to cover the cost of the 500 free carts doesn't come from the city, but rather through a slew of donations and private partnerships, and 100 of the carts are earmarked for disabled veterans.
"Small business owners like food cart vendors, are the backbone of New York City’s economy and the fabric of our neighborhoods. I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot and thank MOVE Systems for this important effort." - NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito