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Efficiency for Access Design Challenge 2021–22 winners

Winning teams: 2021–22

The Efficiency for Access Design Challenge Grand Final took place on Thursday 23 June. In the third year of the competition, students from universities in Bangladesh, Benin, Cameroon, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sweden, Uganda, the UK, the USA, and Zimbabwe submitted 31 projects and were supported by over 30 industry partners.

Students submitted a wide range of innovative designs suitable for off-grid settings, and the judges were blown away by the standards this year.

The winning teams were:


Team 2021-31 – City, University of London (UK) and Independent University (Bangladesh): Solar Direct Drive Cold Storage System for Off-Grid Preservation of Fish and Perishable goods.

This interuniversity team created a solar direct drive cold storage system for off-grid preservation of fish and perishable goods. The design targeted rural areas in Bangladesh, with the aim to help local economies achieve economic prosperity.


Team 2021-18 – University College London (UK): Space Cooling Air Filtration System with a Grass-Based Filter

Team 2021-18 created a space cooling air filtration system with a grass-based filter. The design utilises a lemongrass filter, attached to a floor fan for use in Chad, Central African Republic, Burundi, and Tanzania, as these countries have limited access to grid electricity, and produce a significant amount of lemongrass.

Team 2021-06 – National University of Sciences and Technology, NUST (Pakistan): Solar-based Dehydrating System for Food Preservation

Team 2021-06 created a solar-based dehydrating system for food preservation. The team designed an efficient and temperature-controlled, solar-powered system for dehydrating food. It aimed to enable farmers to sell their yields at a higher price, thus helping to increase their household income, and avoid food waste by extending the shelf life of farmers’ products.


Team 2021-26 – Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Kenya): Solar Baby Incubator

Team 2021-26 designed a solar-powered baby incubator that aimed to reduce the infant mortality rate in Kenya by providing a technology that will help preterm infants to grow and thrive. The incubator will use a parabolic trough reflector to heat water, which will be used to provide warmth to babies, at a lower price point compared to other electric incubators currently on the market.

Team 2021-25 – Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Kenya): Solar-Powered Mobile Blood Bank

Team 2021-25 designed a mobile blood bank design that transports blood from major blood banks to remote hospitals while maintaining the integrity and quality of the blood. The proposed mobile blood bank would transport blood over several hours, while avoiding any blood spoilage.

Team 2021 - 43 – Makerere University (Uganda): Solar-Powered IoT Hydroponic System

Team 2021-43 created a solar-powered IoT hydroponic system. Building upon existing technologies, this design enables the user to monitor and control the system remotely, use off-grid renewable energy, and lowers operating and start-up costs.

Team 2021-21 University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria): Semi-Automated Water Vending Machine

The project aimed to provide African communities with a safe, clean, potable water supply. This design seeks to increase the efficiency of energy spent in pumping water, and build a business model around water vending. The system improves the efficiency of the current manually operated system. The system can work in areas with or without network connectivity

2021-12 Makerere University (Uganda) and Swansea University (UK): Solar-Powered Milk Cooling Unit

The team created a solar-powered milk cooling unit, which aimed to address the challenges faced by dairy farmers in Uganda. The design helps to maintain milk quality during the post-production and transport phase of the value chain. It uses solar energy to power a solid-state cooling solution (thermo-electric devices).