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R&D Cooling Call Winners

Efficiency for Access awards 12 innovative organisations with R&D funding to develop cooling technologies

Twelve projects have been selected to receive £1.67 million in funding from UK aid and IKEA Foundation through the Efficiency for Access Research and Development (R&D) Fund. This was matched by an additional £786,000 of funding from the awardee organisations.

The Efficiency for Access R&D Fund aims to accelerate the availability, affordability and efficiency of a range of low energy inclusive appliances that are particularly suited to developing country contexts and promote social inclusion. The second call was open to applications to projects developing appliance technologies or products that focused on cooling, including fans, refrigeration and cold chain for food and agricultural products.

The decision to focus on cooling was made in recognition of the Sustainable Development Goals and the role cooling can play to achieve no poverty (SDG1), zero hunger (SG2) and good health and well-being (SDG3).

Cooling technologies in off- and weak-grid areas help boost local economies by enabling farmers to gain access to new markets as they can preserve their produce. The Chilling Prospects report by Sustainable Energy for All revealed that cold chain allowed a dairy producer in India to earn an extra $700 USD a month.[1] Cooling can also help families prevent food waste and maintain the quality of their food. Food prices have the potential to rise by 84% by 2050, meaning access to cooling will become vital.[2] Additionally, access to space cooling provides respite for families as the climate warms. Already, 30% of the global population is exposed to life threatening temperatures for 20 days a year on average.[3]

The majority of the awarded R&D projects include field trials, bringing immediate benefits to those living in the pilot areas. For example, the Smart Villages Research Group aims to install 100 improved cold-storage hubs, each of which will benefit 50 smallholder farmers in Uganda. Another winning organisation, Fosera, anticipates increased sales of their affordable refrigeration units to 5,000 households, potentially benefiting 25,000 people in Kenya, Senegal, and Thailand.

The successful organisations and projects focused on cooling include:

  • Amped Innovation PBC – Developing an affordable solar fridge/freezer and ice maker to increase the accessibility of cooling to those living off-grid areas
  • Devidayal Solar Solutions – Creating a transportable, solar powered cold chain to enable local farmers to reach new markets helping to address food wastage and alleviate poverty
  • Equatorial Power Limited – Developing a cold chain catalyst for Idjwi Island, creating economic opportunities, improving health and preserving food catalyst
  • Fosera Solar Systems – Working to make Peltier coolers efficient through solar technology, therefore creating a cheap but efficient option for cooling
  • Greenlight Planet – Cost and efficient 24-hour refrigerator solutions for off- and weak- grid residents and small business owners helping to prevent food waste and create income generating opportunities
  • Harness Energy Limited – Creating an efficient, solar powered, cooling fan for those living in rural, informal settlements in Pakistan, to replace inefficient temporary fans that are neither cost or energy efficient
  • Instituto de Sistemas e Robótica – Producing a super-efficient, affordable refrigerator for off grid settings, powered by solar panels so it can charge during the day to work through the night
  • Phase Change Material Products – Highly efficient and reliable refrigeration using phase change materials
  • Promethean Spenta Technologies – Using thermal energy to power batteries to chill milk, replacing inefficient and unreliable diesel powered generators. This will make chilling more accessible and efficient for dairy farmers
  • Refrigeration Developments and Testing Ltd (RD&T) – Transferring the cool temperatures that occurs naturally in arid countries during the night to create cooling within appliances.
  • Smart Villages Research Groups – Working to improve the efficiency and affordability of a cold storage solution in Uganda, increasing the accessibility to allow for more users
  • Solar Cooling Engineering UG – Developing key cooling components that can be built locally by small-scale farmers. This reduces costs and allows the cooling systems to be adapted to the individual’s needs.

The Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund will launch another call for applications in early 2020 focusing on enabling technologies with a particular focus on interoperability, gender and inclusivity.

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[1] Technoserve (2018). Annual Impact Report: Dairy Farmers Making a Cool Profit. Available at: https://www. technoserve.org/annualreport/2018/stories.html#dairy

[2] IPCC (2018) from Hoegh-Guldberg, et al, 2018: Impacts of 1.5ºC Global Warming on Natural and HumanSystems. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report. Pg. 239

[3] Mora, C. et al. (2017). Global risk of deadly heat. Nature Climate Change. Advance Online Publication, Vol 7. Available from: DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE3322. Available at: https://www.nature.com/nclimat...