Food trucks are big business in the U.S., but they aren’t the cleanest operation. They sit in one place for hours using a diesel generator to run their stove and other appliances. The fumes are harmful to the atmosphere and the health of the workers. This issue is a concern in cities like New York, which already has its fair share of air pollution problems.
A Seattle-based startup called Joule Case has a potential solution. The company’s power generator is fossil fuel-free, has solar panel attachments, and prevents the spread of toxic gases. The modular battery system can be stored in the same spot as a traditional gas generator. It can cover up to 90kWh with the solar panel attachments. It’s also noise-free, providing a better experience for customers and workers.
“We are trying to design a system that truly can replace everything, from a small weed wacker to the giant systems that are powering music festivals,” Alex Livingston, president and co-founder, said to Forbes in 2020.
Joule Case made a name for itself in the outdoor music industry. The company worked with major festivals to provide a clean, reliable power source.
Some of the biggest promotion companies have worked with Joule Case. According to Forbes, Insomniac, who runs the popular EDC festivals, started working with the company in June 2020. It supplied power to stages, first aid stations, and concessions, and the power packs were sent to other events in Idaho, like the Western Idaho Fair. In 2020, CEO James Wagoneer said about 30 festivals had expressed interest in using the emission-free battery systems.
Adding food trucks to their list of industries is coming at a crucial time. More states and cities require food trucks to switch to zero-emission power and are cracking down on noise. Such legislation already made its way to the New York City Council in August.
“We have the technology at our disposal to electrify our ice cream trucks, and our three-year timeline gives business owners enough time to make the responsible transition,” Lincoln Restler, Brooklyn city council member, said in a statement. “I’m excited to see how they can serve as a model for electrifying mobile food truck vendors.”
In California, gas-powered vehicles are being phased out entirely, but the switch will take time. Adaptations to these kinds of business will be paramount in reducing emissions. Joule has already converted more than 100 food trucks and ice cream machines nationwide.
Some Joule Case clients have sung their praises. Stephano Theo, owner of Theo’s Gyros food truck in Seattle, said that his old propane generator constantly broke down.
Theo said the system is much more reliable and causes fewer delays in Theo’s operations, saving money on gas and maintenance costs.
Gone will be the days when workers will have to breathe in smoke particles, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and carcinogenic benzene. Joule’s technology can eliminate all of these threats. It will also attract more customers as there will be less noise.
Photo Courtesy Arturo Rey
Joule is targeting several industries as the transition from fossil fuels continues. Pet grooming, another truck-based business, is one sector where the company could provide its power packs. The firm also has battery systems for commercial and grid-scale use. Joule’s technology could eventually be put into grid decentralization efforts. Joule Case Energy Services can store renewable energy and return it to the grid.
With more businesses moving away from gas and diesel, having a power source like Joule Case systems is paramount for reliably powering our world. By using solar energy and storing other renewables, the company offers a clean, sustainable solution.
“Why should somebody switch over?” Justin LeVrier, vice president of sales at Joule Case, said in a company blog post about the ice cream truck battery transition. “Outside of the noise pollution, the smell, your health, and doing the right thing for the planet, it’s a good financial investment.”