It’s straight out of 1950s science fiction: an entire country connected by food-transporting pipelines, sending baked beans and smoked kippers sailing between London and Liverpool at 60 miles per hour. And it’s arguably more sensible than what we’re already doing.
In the United Kingdom, 8 percent of all carbon dioxide mixed into the atmosphere comes from the diesel gas used to move around food trucks. That’s a ton of unnecessary pollution, particularly when you consider one estimate suggests only a small percentage of that gas is actually needed to move the food if things were run efficiently. That’s where Foodtubes enters the picture.
The brainchild of a British team of academics, engineers, and project planners, Foodtubes calls for the creation of high-speed food pipelines throughout the UK. Each major city and center food production would be linked with a pipeline, and the cities would also have their own internal pipelines to get the food to various different neighborhoods.
The food would sail along in small capsules at upwards of 60 miles per hour. As many as 900,000 capsules could be in circulation in the nearly 2,000 miles of pressurized pipe, all of which would be controlled by smart grids that would keep food from crashing into each other. To give some semblance of order, the capsules would generally be organized into little trains of about 300 linked capsules, each spaced about a meter apart.