none

THE NEW REFRIGERATOR THAT KEEPS FOOD COLD WITHOUT ELECTRICITY

04-11-2015
by 
in 

An estimated 1.3 billion people in the world are currently living without electricity.

This means refrigeration is not an option.

So a team of students in Canada has invented a cooling device that not only works without any electricity, it’s also cheap and portable – making it ideal for those in remote and rural areas who struggle to keep their produce fresh.

"We thought it would be good to decrease the amount of food waste in the world, and we came up with this design because it's easy to build and the materials are relatively cheap," one of the students, Michelle Zhou from the University of Calgary, told CBC News.

Dubbed the WindChill Food Preservation Unit, the device connects an air tube to an evaporation chamber, which connects to a sealed refrigeration chamber that looks a lot like an esky, the contents of which are cooled through the process of evaporative cooling.

It works by passively drawing in warm ambient air through the funnel, which is fed into a pipe that’s been buried underground.

This already starts to cool down the air before it's fed into coiled cooper pipe that’s been immersed in water in the evaporation chamber. The evaporation process is helped along by a small, solar-powered fan.

The water evaporating around pipe chills the air inside, and this is then fed back underground before entering the refrigeration chamber. 

The invention won first place in the student category of the 2015 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, which asks researchers and students to come up with improvements to the global food system inspired by nature. The University of Calgary team says its invention was inspired by everything from coral and kangaroos to bees and elephants - think siphoning air in via elephant ears and keeping things cool underground like termite tunnels.

The next step will be to improve the design to achieve a consistent 4.5°C temperature in the refrigeration chamber, which is necessary to keep food from spoiling. 

"Anywhere from a quarter to half of the world's food goes to waste every year, and in rural populations – about 70 percent of the people in rural Africa don't have access to electricity," team member Jorge Zapote told CBC News. 

"So this at the moment uses a tiny bit of electricity from a solar panel, but the end design is to use zero electricity. So this could really help people in those areas."

Related news & editorials

  1. ‘The YARDS’ precinct in Kemps Creek promises to be a benchmark in Australian industrial development and cements the region as a key distribution hub in New South Wales.
    04.03.2021
    04.03.2021
    by      In , In
    A $1 billion major industrial and logistics community project is set to begin construction in Western Sydney.
    ‘The YARDS’ precinct in Kemps Creek promises to be a benchmark in Australian industrial development and cements the region as a key distribution hub in New South Wales.
    The project is... Read More
  2. Karen Andrews
    04.03.2021
    04.03.2021
    by      In , In
    Australia’s rare earths and critical minerals were described as leading global assets, in a new grant program announced today from Tomago in the NSW Hunter region. 
    These comments were made as Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison,... Read More
  3. Editor Barry O’Hagan
    04.03.2021
    04.03.2021
    by      In , In
    Industry Update would like to give a warm welcome to our new editor, Barry O’Hagan.
    Barry brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked as a media professional for more than 25 years.
    A former newspaper and magazine journalist, he has a passion for telling the stories of businesses and... Read More
  4. Westpac’s Institutional arm found 57% of large corporations in this hemisphere have begun onshore supply and manufacture.
    04.03.2021
    04.03.2021
    by      In
    This time last year, Industry Update asked the question: “Is it time to bring Manufacturing Back Home?”
    The answer to that question is no different now – and the industry responded with a resounding ‘YES’.
    Manufacturing remains a backbone of the Australian economy. We need it now more than ever and... Read More
Products
Suppliers