Our Research Mobile evaporative cooling rooms for vegetable preservation

Challenge:

Can we commercialize a cold storage chamber using evaporative cooling that is lower cost than the currently available technologies? Can we reduce post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables for farmers in rural off-grid communities?

Research Strategy

  • Conduct prototype testing and computer modeling to continue to improve the forced-air evaporative cooling chamber performance and design
  • Collaborate with existing cold storage providers and NGOs to pilot the technology with smallholder farmers in India and Kenya, and gather data from these pilots
  • Identify key markets and approaches for scaling the commercialization of forced-air evaporative cooling chambers
  • Develop and publish publicly available open-source designs of the technology and engage and support early adopters and promoters of the technology

Project description

J-WAFS Solutions Program

In many countries across the world, a significant portion of the food produced (30-50%) is lost before it reaches the table primarily due to high-temperature conditions. Forced-air evaporative cooling chambers have the potential to provide an effective, low-cost solution for postharvest fruit and vegetable storage in low-income regions with hot and dry climates. This innovative design, based on retrofitting shipping containers, will provide a lower-cost alternative to refrigerated cold rooms and a better-performing alternative to charcoal evaporative cooling chambers and non-climate-controlled environments. The water required to operate the chamber is only a small fraction of the water consumed in growing the food. Access to improved fruit and vegetable storage will reduce food loss, enable farmers to sell their produce at a higher price at different times of day, and improve access to nutritious food in the community. This Solutions grant will support the development, publishing, and promotion of publicly available open-source designs of the technology, along with continued testing of pilot chambers operating in Kenya and India, and engagement with early adopters of the technology.

Additional Details

Impact Areas

  • Food

Research Themes

  • Technology & Commercialization
  • Sustainability & Adaptation
  • Transforming Food Systems
  • Equity & Access

Year Funded

  • 2021

Grant Type

  • Solutions Grant

Status

  • Ongoing