Sustainable Energy

NY food carts go green – and it's not the hot dogs

Anmar Frangoul | Special to

New York's 8,000 food carts and trucks could soon be doing their bit to stop global warming as well as halt your hunger pangs.

The sight of mobile food stands selling hot dogs, tacos and burgers on street corners is synonymous with the city but they can be an environmental burden, with many using generators powered by fossil fuels, creating noise and fumes.

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Queens-based MOVE Systems have designed and developed a mobile food cart that they hope will be cleaner and greener than those currently being used.

MOVE Systems

"MOVE is built around a vision of greening the urban environment and creating a platform for small business success," James Meeks, President and CEO of MOVE Systems, told in an email.

The MOVE trailer has been installed with a hybrid system that uses solar, battery and natural gas power. The company states on its website that the system, "reduces generator noise by half and decreases climate change emissions by two-thirds."

The vehicles will have refrigeration, a sink as well as a fully functioning kitchen. "Our MRV100 dramatically improves air quality," Meeks said. "Each vehicle removes the pollution equivalent of nearly 200 automobiles," he added.

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New York City's Department of Environmental Protection estimates that air pollution contributes to 6 percent of deaths in the city. This month, City Hall announced a pilot program that will see 500 of MOVE's carts – called MRV100s – provided to vendors across the city over the coming year. The first 500 vendors to sign up for the new, greener model, will receive it free of charge.

"New Yorkers encounter air pollution every day and in some communities like mine, there is an undeniable direct correlation to some of the highest asthma rates in the country," Councilman Donovan Richards, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, said in a release.

"I'm pleased that the carts being provided will reduce emissions, improve air quality and increase safety on our streets," Richards added.

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The first 100 MRV100s are set to go to disabled veterans and for Meeks – who served two tours in Iraq and received both a Purple Heart and Bronze Star – the pilot program in New York is just the beginning.

"MOVE is currently in conversations with multiple cities, both nationally and internationally, to introduce our MRV100 to other markets," he said.