Completed Projects

The Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund has supported 38 organisations with over £5 million in funding and facilitated a further £1.5m to 12 electric cooking projects with funding from UK aid. Here are the completed projects.

The Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund was launched in November 2018 and aims to accelerate innovation in off-grid and weak grid appliance technologies.

Efficiency for Access is investing funding into research and development (R&D) projects with the aim to accelerate the availability, affordability, efficiency and performance of a range of low energy inclusive appliances that are particularly suited to developing country contexts and promote social inclusion.

Launched in 2018, there have been three calls for funding: the Open Call, the Cooling Call and the Enabling Technologies Call. Some of our projects have now been successfully completed, with the impacts of the projects measured.

First Open Call 2018

Agsol: Are Solar-Powered Micro Mills the Key to Affordable and Efficient Grain Processing?

Established in 2016, Agsol has been on a mission to develop solar-powered milling machines to transform grain processing in off- and weak-grid rural communities.

Their smart and innovative MicroMill aims to be two to three times more efficient than other small electric mills, providing a highly decentralised network of essential milling services.

By using solar power, the MicroMill can out-compete diesel mills on price and profitability, while reducing pollution and improving the quality of flour.

Discover Agsol’s milling movement in the full report.


Bboxx: Affordable, Solar-Powered Irons for Sub-Saharan Africa

Bboxx, a next-generation utility company, is addressing energy poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa through development of a low-cost, solar-powered iron, designed for off- and weak-grid areas.

Developed with the needs of the community at the heart of the research, Bboxx conducted extensive technical testing through user feedback. The result – a game-changing iron that offers efficiency, durability, multiple energy settings, and comes at an affordable price point—less than 30 USD.

Iron-out Bboxx’s story in the full report.


Innovex Uganda: Using IoT to revolutionise off-grid appliances

Innovex is levelling up the off-grid solar market with their REMOT product, an IoT-based digital solution for monitoring solar-powered energy systems and equipment.

With support from the Efficiency for Access R&D Fund, Innovex have enhanced REMOT’s features, like local data storage, sensors, and reduced power consumption by 50%. They’ve also adopted a user-friendly approach, improving navigation and streamlining payment options.

By setting standards and fostering local innovation, Innovex is driving sustainable growth in the solar industry.

Learn more about Innovex Uganda’s developments in the full report.


Solaris Offgrid: OpenPAYGO Link – A Milestone Towards Off-grid Appliance Market Growth

Discover the development of Solaris Offgrid’s OpenPAYGO Link, an open-source communication protocol for PAYGo appliances in the off-grid solar market.

This innovative technology aims to enable the integration of PAYGo into a wider range of solar appliances, unlocking access to clean, smart and efficient energy services.

By standardising the ecosystem and expanding the range of compatible solar appliances, it gives consumers better quality products and more freedom of choice, while manufacturers benefit from reduced costs, accelerated time to market, and more collaboration opportunities in the sector.

Read more about the benefits in the full report on Solaris Offgrid.


Sure Chill: How Smart Controllers Can Help to Unlock Universal Access to Domestic Refrigeration

Read all about the revolution in off-grid refrigeration with Sure Chill’s innovative control platform and compressor combination for integration with solar home systems.

Their patented technology removes the need for a battery by converting electricity into thermal energy and storing it in the form of ice, increasing efficiency and lowering costs, making refrigeration more accessible to low-income households

Sure Chill’s latest controller version, the GEN2 Smart Box, introduces game-changing features like versatile interoperability, system monitoring and compressor driver protection, enhancing performance and further reducing costs.

Join the cool revolution with Sure Chill’s full report.


M-KOPA: Smart Batteries – The Key to Scaling Efficient and Affordable Off-Grid Appliances?

With support from the Efficiency for Access R&D Fund, M-KOPA developed smart battery chips that enable real-time reporting of battery health for off-grid appliances.  This innovation allows customers to pre-empt or prevent maintenance costs, resulting in greater service uptime, saving customers money, and reducing reliance on kerosene which emits greenhouse gases and poses health risks. ​

Follow M-KOPA toward a more sustainable and efficient future through their full report.

Cooling Call 2019

Promethean Power: Transforming India’s Rural Dairy Sector Through Smart Decentralised Cooling

22% of the world’s milk comes from India, predominantly from smallholder farmers. But preserving dairy quality is difficult in remote rural villages, with limited electricity and chilling infrastructure.

With help from our Research and Development Fund, Promethean Power has developed their thermal energy storage for milk chilling, innovative advanced remote monitoring, and cooling as a service, to offer a decentralised cold chain solution to off- and weak-grid villages.

Promethean’s innovative approach improves milk quality, prevents spoilage, and raises the income of smallholder dairy farmers, fostering sustainable rural livelihoods, resilience, and food security.

Dive in and discover how Promethean Power is churning the tide for India’s rural dairy sector.


Amped Innovation: Developing an affordable, high-performing solar-powered fridge for Sub-Saharan Africa

Amped Innovation’s journey to craft a world-leading, cost-effective and high performing solar-powered refrigerator.  By harnessing the power of phase change materials and an innovative design, this case study explores how Amped Innovation have effectively addressed two major hurdles faced by solar-powered fridges today: affordability and efficiency.

Read the full report here


Devidayal Solar Solutions – Truck-mounted, solar refrigerators to enable local farmers in India to reach new markets

Discover the innovations of Devidayal Solar Solutions in driving a cold chain ecosystem in India with truck-mounted solar refrigerators, addressing food loss and waste by providing reliable and affordable cold storage solutions to local farmers.

Designed to be easily transportable, the refrigerators enable micro-entrepreneurs to travel with their produce, raising their incomes and expanding their businesses, while reducing reliance on grid electricity and diesel to benefit the environment.

Buckle up and roll into Devidayal’s report


Institute of Systems and Robotics – University of Coimbra (ISR-UC) – Retrofitting refrigerators to create an affordable, energy efficient cooling solution

Addressing the lack of access to cooling technology for low income families in Sub-Saharan Africa, ISR-UC successfully retrofitted standard AC cooling units to become solar-powered DC refrigerators and freezers.

By incorporating innovative features such as variable speed compressors, smart controllers, lithium iron phosphate batteries and phase change materials, ISR-UC achieved remarkable levels of energy efficiency. The impacts of the project are game-changing for rural communities, including reduced food waste, saving money, and empowering women by reducing time spent on food preparation.

Learn more about ISR-UC’s cooling project


Phase Change Materials (PCM) Products: the future of efficient refrigeration?

Refrigeration challenges in off- and weak-grid settings in the Global South lead to significant post-harvest losses. Phase Change Material (PCM) Products has addressed this issue with innovative refrigeration technologies designed to prevent food loss and spoilage.

Their solution: the Sust-Fridge, a solar-powered refrigerator that uses PCMs to keep produce cool for extended periods without electricity. Capable of maintaining low temperatures for up to five hours during power cuts or at night, this fridge boasts higher energy efficiency, reduces food spoilage, boosts economic activity, and offers 40% annual savings on running costs.

Explore the future of efficient, sustainable, affordable cooling in PCM Products’ full story. 


Smart Villages Research Group: Off-grid cold rooms: A game-changing development for local smallholder farmers

Post-harvest food loss threatens food security, smallholder farmers’ livelihoods, and the environment. Traditional cooling methods such as charcoal coolers, night air ventilation, and brick and mortar storage rooms often fall short in preserving produce. Cold rooms—refrigerated spaces with controlled temperatures—can significantly reduce food losses and offer additional benefits.

Smart Villages Research Group has developed a pilot cold room using locally sourced materials and equipment. This innovative solution incorporates compressed soil blocks for cavity walling, rice husk for insulation, and modified LG air-conditioning units for chilling. The design ensures affordability, availability, enhanced thermal performance, and reduced environmental impact. Additionally, it creates employment opportunities within the community, contributing to sustainability, energy efficiency, and community empowerment.

Discover more about Smart Villages Research Group’s cold room project.




Enabling Technologies Call 2020

Neopenda: Innovating Neonatal Care in Low-Resource Settings

In low-resource healthcare settings of the Global South, vital signs monitoring technology faces severe challenges, impacting survival rates and prolonging hospital stays.

Our Research and Development Fund grantee, Neopenda, aims to address these challenges with their game-changing vital signs monitoring system, neoGuard.

Tailored for off-grid clinical environments with limited access to electricity, space constraints and over-burdened health staff, this battery-powered appliance is raising the standard of healthcare and survivability rates of newborns, infants and adults alike.

Learn more about Neopenda’s mission in our full report.



Wala: Cultivating Solar-powered irrigation for smallholder farmers in Malawi

Exploring Wala’s mission to cultivate solar-powered irrigation for smallholder farmers in Malawi.

Through the sale of their high-performing solar water pumps on credit, they are transforming the agricultural landscape, and playing a crucial role in food processing, preservation and security.

Learn more about Wala in the full report


Adili Solar Hubs: Bridging the gap for the fish cold chain in Lake Turkana

The journey of Adili Solar Hubs through their project to bridge the fish cold chain gap in Lake Turkana, Kenya.

Discover how they’re connecting an end-to-end sustainable cold chain, powered by a solar mini-grid. This ensures the fish from Lake Turkana arrives fresh and hygienic to the market, raising the income of local fisherfolk and supplying healthy food for the community.

Find out more about Adili Solar Hubs’ project in the full report


OVO Solar: Empowering smallholder farmers by developing an off-grid solar egg incubator

Discover the inspiring journey of Canadian start-up OVO Solar on their mission to empower smallholder farmers in Africa through the development of an off-grid modular egg incubator.

OVO Solar has worked to enhance the energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their incubator, enabling farmers to raise more chickens, boost their incomes, and improve food security within their communities.

For deeper understanding of OVO Solar’s transformative development, we invite you to explore the full report.


Angaza: Standards-based software for secure communication between off-grid devices

Seeking to increase access to inclusive and affordable solar appliances in Sub-Saharan Africa, Angaza developed standards-based software for secure communication between off-grid devices.

Suitable for PAYGo financing, this software allows smart appliances to talk to each other and the companies that use them, ensuring critical energy needs like food preservation are prioritised, and energy use is managed efficiently.

Discover more about Angaza’s innovative software.


Jirogasy: Improving digital education throughout Madagascar

A pioneering company from Madagascar, Jirogasy is revolutionising digital education in Sub-Saharan Africa with their innovative product, the Jirodesk2.

This sophisticated solar-powered computer bridges the gap for rural areas, providing essential access to electricity and digital education. An affordable plug-and-play device, this development created new jobs, attracted additional funding, and provided training for teachers and students alike.

Read the full story of Jirogasy’s digital project. 


Omnivoltaic: Making data discoverable

Easily discoverable hardware-to-cloud link.

To enable access to data in the off-grid appliance sector, Omnivoltaic developed a framework for making data discoverable. ​

Including a device called BridgeWare, these services allow manufacturers and service providers to easily monitor device performance and usage trends, on customisable dashboards, and integrate to products at an affordable cost.

Delve into Omnivoltaic’s data discoveries in the full report.