Zero-Emission Cold-Chain Building the Road to Sustainable Cold-Chain Systems for Food Resilience

Project Background

This consortium of academic and industrial partners will develop a coordinated strategy to accelerate the transition to a resilient, decarbonised food cold-chain in the UK.  

Our aim is to develop and deliver a clear industry-led pathway to achieve the UK’s net zero 2050 target whilst maintaining food security and affordability for UK consumers and economic opportunity for the UK food industry.  

Research Questions 

  • What are the energy and cooling requirements and boundary conditions to meet zero emission cold chain (ZECC)? 
  • What are the system design and decarbonisation technical strategies of ZECC? 
  • What are the logistics and optimal systems of ZECC? 
  • What are the product flow and post-harvest food management of ZECC? 
  • What and how to optimise utilisation of the above newly discovered ZECC systems? 
  • What are the barriers and opportunities of achieving ZECC? 


  • Defining whole system approach to decarbonise the UK food cold chain 
  • Forecasting cooling and cold chain energy demand 
  • Technical engineering analysis and system design 
  • Logistics scenarios and system efficiency experiments 
  • Assessing strategies and management 
  • Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis 

Project Lead 

Professor Toby Peters - University of Birmingham 

Co-investigators/ PhDs/ RAs 

  • Professor Philip Greening
  • Professor Bing Xu
  • Professor Judith Evans - London South Bank University 
  • Professor Graeme Maidment - London South Bank University 
  • Tim Brown - London South Bank University 
  • Alan Foster - London South Bank University 
  • Professor Leon Terry - Cranfield University 
  • Dr Natalia Falagan - Cranfield University