Solar Powered Fridge Protects Important Vaccines In Rural Areas

Earlier this year, we reported on folks using solar panels to cool mobile health clinics, traveling rural Africa by camel. This is a similar story, but with a couple of important twists: the solar panels, in this case, are somehow being used to directly cool a solar refrigerator, with no electricity involved. (Now that’s a “cool” use of science.) Also, they can be made cheaply, on site in African cities, using widely available materials.

A group called the Appropriate Technology Collaborative (ATC)–a nonprofit whose purpose is to “design, develop, demonstrate and distribute appropriate technological solutions for meeting the basic human needs of low income people in the developing world'”–created their Solar Powered Refrigerator for NASA Tech Brief’s Create the Future Contest. Constructed exclusively of simple materials that can be found in most cities, such as steel, charcoal and ethanol or methanol, the Collaborative’s Solar Refrigerator was designed to help mobile clinics in rural Africa store life-saving vaccines in places where electricity is a luxury.

ATC Vaccine Solar Fridge

image via Inhabitat

According to Inhabitat, the ATC Solar Vaccine Refrigerator is a robust, easy-to-maintain technology that has no moving parts that need maintenance and doesn’t use electricity of any kind. Simply place the device in the sun and it freezes. Amazing! (And FYI: If it happens to be cloudy out, the refrigerator can be backed up with biofuels.)

Like what you are reading? Join us on Facebook and chat with other passionate green technology readers about this and other stories of the day!

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.