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Low-Cost Solar Refrigeration

Our goal is to improve the lifespan of perishable foods, so that less food spoils, thus benefiting the nutrition of urban slum dwellers.

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

What problem would you like to solve? We would like to improve food preservation, so that more food can impact the general nutrition of people in urban slums. In addition, climate change increases the likelihood of heat waves meaning perishable foods are at a greater risk of expiration. What is your idea? How does it work? We will use the sun’s energy to cool food, thus extending its usable lifespan. Our solar food refrigeration lockers would be available at a low cost to its users. How might your idea solve the problem you've identified? Cooling perishable foods will slow the decaying process of them. This extended lifespan will increase food vendor’s resilience to heat waves and thus helps the community by prolonging the availability of food.

WHO BENEFITS?

Our design will benefit both food providers and consumers. Extending the lifespan of perishable foods will create a larger window of opportunity for them to be sold. As a result, less food will go to waste. In turn, this will allow vendors to sell a greater percentage of their perishable foods and over time also allow them to sell their goods at lower prices, benefiting everyday consumers. Less food waste overall will impact both the business of food vendors the nutrition of the common public.

HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?

Using the sun’s energy to cool food and extend its usable lifespan, solar food refrigeration lockers would be available at a low cost to its users. In addition, climate change increases the likelihood of heat waves meaning perishable foods are at a greater risk of expiration. This solution could be set up through a non-profit already in the area, who could either maintain the units or hire someone else to do so. Fees could be collected in one of two ways, someone could be appointed to collect money each week or the units could be set up like vending machines which collect fees themselves (however, this could increase the target on the refrigeration units for theft). Refrigeration units will reverse the more rapid aging of perishable foods due to the increased heat brought with climate change.

IN-COUNTRY EXPERIENCE

  • Not yet

EXPERTISE

  • I do not have experience working in a sector related to my idea

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

  • Yes

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

We are a team of two senior mechanical engineering students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

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