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Eco-Storage Technologies

Plastic Insulated Solar Powered Cold room (Eco Cold Room) and Zero Energy Cooling Chamber (ZECC) used for storage of fruits and veggies

Photo of Hadijah Nantambi

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

Eco-storage technologies are innovative storage, cooling ideas aimed at reducing food wastage and spoilage at different levels i.e. farm and market. Farmers, traders and retailers of fresh fruits and vegetables are faced with deteriorating quality and quantity of these produces in hot, open weather conditions. The produce withers in the hot sun of the day with no cooling / preservation measure available to the traders, resulting in loss of produce and consequently income. Farm level operation The low cost Zero Energy Cooling Chamber (ZECC) will be constructed at farm level, where small holder farmers handle minimal quantities of produce before it is taken to collection centers or markets. Retailers too will utilize the ZECC for temporary storage of the fruits and vegetables as they wait to sell in a few days. The operation of the ZECC requires minimal training and hardly any technical knowledge and therefore can be operated by any one. Collection center operation The Eco Cold Room is constructed using plastic waste bottles for insulation, clay bricks, sand and cement. It provides storage and cooling at a low cost while reducing environmental pollution by utilizing the plastic wastes. It can be constructed at pack houses, collection centers and market centers where there is bulk fresh produce. The cold room can be used to keep commercial produce for a long period of time; increasing their shelf life and extending the revenue periods of the farmers and retailers.

WHO BENEFITS?

City Market Vendors and Small holder farmers. Eco storage technologies will result in • Reduced on-farm losses due to presence of storage facilities at farm level • Increased shelf life of perishable produce thus better and more stable produce price in the market. • Increased farmers’ income without the need to intensify their field production • Better prices and better management of surplus fruits and vegetables on the market

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

In Uganda The Cooling Chamber will be used for temporary storage of the fruits and vegetables by farmers immediately after harvest. The Plastic Insulated Solar Powered Cold room will be constructed at pack houses and in markets.

ARE YOU IMPLEMENTING IN AN ELIGIBLE COUNTRY?

  • Yes

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU!

Hadijah and Sylvia are professional business oriented people with a high interest in contributing positively to the horticultural value chain. We are working out innovations on production, post-harvest handling and marketing of horticulture produce through our company EcoLife Foods.

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

This idea is for my organization EcoLife Foods where I work as the innovation director. Am in charge of developing Eco storage technologies throughout its life cycle.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

1. Eco Storage Technologies are real solutions that will be implemented along the whole value chain of fruits and vegetables. The ZECC will be easily installed on different farms and village collection centers. The plastic insulated cold room will be installed in major city markets, pack houses, processing factories and airports for the exporters. 2. Eco storage technologies are green concepts with use of low cost insulation (reuse of plastic waste) and cooling technology (zero or renewable energy). 3. The backward linkage with small holder farmers will ensure continuous product improvement and consistent yet high quality produce to meet customer needs. 4. The innovation is consumer driven. Through our company EcoLife foods, we purchase high quality farmers' fruits and vegetables. So this innovation is a tracking tool and a sustainability model to reduce food spoilage before reaching the consumer and increase our selling boundaries.

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

Hadijah will devote time to make sure Eco Storage technologies reduce food wastage in Uganda through.  Continuous product improvement  Adopting and using the Eco Storage technologies at EcoLife foods My partner Sylvia will be responsible for  Training farmers on produce quality and production issues  Ensuring produce quality at farm level  Planning, promoting, and organizing training activities related to extension of fresh produce shelf life to reduce food wastage.

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?

I have realized that both the ZECC and Eco cold Room should be partitioned to cater for different produce at the same time. For example ethylene and non ethylene producing fruits should be separated. The Eco Cold Room should be connected to both solar and hydro power to mitigate power fluctuations.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

1. Can the Eco Cold Room be connected to double grid (both hydro power and solar energy)? 2. Can the ZECC be constructed in form of a room (Zero Energy Cool Room)? This would increase the storage capacity and usability 3. Are there multi-location studies at different agro climatic zones?

WHY DO YOU THINK THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HASN'T BEEN SOLVED YET?

• From our interactions with the farmers and market vendors, there are currently NO interventions to solve the problem of post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables both at the farm and market level. • The current technologies like electronic refrigerators used in major cities have failed to penetrate into the rural and semi-urban communities. • There are persistent losses of fresh fruits and vegetables both by the farmers after harvest and by the market vendors. These contribute to 30-40% of fruits and vegetable spoilage in Uganda. • Fruit and vegetable farmers suffer losses by selling their produce at low prices during the bumper seasons

WHAT WOULD YOU ULTIMATELY LIKE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS IDEA? WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP TO GET THERE?

• With this idea we hope to reduce the post-harvest losses of the fruits and vegetables to zero in the pilot community within a period of 1 year • To grow a successful business that deals in supply of farm fresh fruits and vegetables in Uganda • Maintain a constant supply of fruits and vegetables from local communities Our next step to get there is to validate Eco storage technologies in order to achieve the detailed design requirements for customer/user experience. To assure product quality.

MEMBERS OF MY TEAM HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER FOR:

  • Between 6 months and a year

MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:

  • Within 50 km of where our team does most of its work

MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:

  • Under $100,000

We are seeking to introduce two Eco-friendly storage technologies that will be used to preserve the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables; and reduce post harvest losses in Uganda. The first is the Zero Energy Cooling Chamber (ZECC). The chamber require no energy for operation and is constructed from cheap locally available materials like sand and bricks. It will be used for temporary storage of the fruits and vegetables by both farmers and retailers immediately after harvest. The second is a Plastic Insulated Solar Powered Cold room. The cold rooms will be constructed at pack houses and in different towns and big markets. The fresh produce will be transferred to the cold rooms where they can be preserved longer without spoilage until they are sold off to the customers.

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Spam
Photo of Lisa Kitinoja
Team

In India, postharvest scientists at the IARI have designed walk-in large room sized ZECC, both in a round shape and a square shape.  They used strong metal rebar poles to reinforce the walls, and added a slatted floor (about 1 m above the ground for good air flow) and a solar powered vent exhaust fan in the roof.  In these type of cool chambers the drop in potential temperature change depends on the relative humidity -- via passive evaporative cooling you can lower the  temperature inside the ZECC to about 2 C above the dew point temperature.

Spam
Photo of Hadijah Nantambi
Team

Thank you Lisa for this wonderful literature. I have considered it and my mindset changed greatly.


I applied for the post-harvest course last year. However, I was unable to continue due to lack of the registration fee. Am very sure that next year I will be your student.


Regards,

Hadijah

Spam
Photo of Lisa Kitinoja
Team

I am pleased to hear this Hadijah-- it is not too late to join this year's e-learning program and I can wave the reg fee for you if you have the time to participate.  Send me an email (kitinoja@postharvest.org) and I can send you the application form and agenda. We have just started up a new program for a group in Tanzania in June, and you are wlecome to join us now.  LK

Spam
Photo of Hadijah Nantambi
Team

Thank you Lisa. I will take the opportunity with both hands.
The email has been sent.

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