Solar Powered Fridge Keeps Vaccines Safe

In many parts of Africa, energy supply can be sporadic. While a significant inconvenience for millions of people, for health agencies the prospect of losing desperately needed, expensive and temperature-sensitive vaccines in the often extreme climate is harrowing. To the rescue: The True Energy Vaccine Refrigerator, which its creator says operates on less power than conventional fridges and, perhaps more significantly, can maintain low temperatures for more than 10 days without no power whatsoever.

As Gizmag.com reported, the Vaccine Refrigerator  uses what is called “Sure Chill” technology to run on the standard electrical feed, distributed solar power or other power sources – or a combination of them – to grab whatever power is available. It has high-density polyurethane foam insulation and what the company calls an “innovative phase change material” for energy storage.

True Energy vaccine refrigerator

image via True Energy

Once charged, the company said, the fridge “maintains constant cooling below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) without any power at all.” And it can maintain those temperatures for 10 days even if ambient temperatures climb to 109 F – “eight times longer than its nearest competitor,” the company said.

According to Gizmag, one of the key features of the fridge is a sophisticated monitoring system that allows it to deal well with variable temperatures of objects in the cabinet. By sensing which items are warm and then drawing heat from them, it can keep overall temperatures safe –  between 39 and 43 F – without freezing other items in the cabinet.

While apparently more sophisticated, the Vaccine Fridge is similar in its goal to the Appropriate Technology Collaborative solar refrigerator we told you about last year.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • We all talk about buying an energy star refrigerator here in the US but when are we going to change that to a solar powered one like this?!?! I love that we are finally becoming so innovative in ways to use our biggest and best energy resource. Keep up the great work!!

  • Integrated Feezer

    It is really important to store vaccines in a cold storage. There are chemicals that can be easily damage by hot temperature. That’s the reason why in laboratories chemical are always put on fridges.