Most green public procurements do not include the transport sector, even though urban transport planning greatly impacts the environmental balance of 'green' urban planning initiatives. One example of this is distribution of perishable goods using refrigerated systems. The goods themselves may be selected on the basis of their environmental benefits (for example organic food), but their distribution has negative environmental impacts. Consumption of perishable, refrigerated food is increasing, but refrigerated urban distribution results in both pollution from trucks and vans, and pollution from use of refrigeration equipment. In addition, standard refrigeration systems and diesel vehicles are a source of noise, negatively affecting the quality of urban life. In urban area these risk factors are multiplied because of the distance goods are transported, the complexity of distribution chains and urban sprawl.
The main goal of the LIFE project is to reduce environmental damage from the transportation of refrigerated, perishable goods within urban areas. The project will reduce emissions and noise, and will improve the energy efficiency of the logistical chain, while maintaining the standard of perishable goods. The project will demonstrate an innovative transport solution based on a prototype that integrates the use of: passive-cooling refrigerators; electric vehicles; a system for recharging the self-cooling refrigerators; on-board diagnostic tools to encourage environmentally-friendly driving behaviour; and quality control of perishable goods.
- Reduced environmental impact (noise and pollutant emissions) and greater energy efficiency. The passive-cooling refrigerator that the project will demonstrate needs less than 5 kWh for a full recharge, with yearly power consumption of about 650 kWh. This system should be 20-30% more energy efficient than the traditional refrigerator powered by the delivery vehicle's engine;
- Design of an advanced modular approach applicable to a range of possible situations; this approach will be scalable and supported by documentation and guides for different activities, and by a database that will be accessible online; and
- An evaluation of the environmental and economic benefits from integrated logistical chains.