University of California - Davis
Amity University (India); Reach Your Destiny Consult, Ltd. (Uganda); Punjab Agricultural University (India); Zamorano University (Honduras); Store-it-cool, LLC
Michael Reid; James Thompson
Cecilia Chi-Ham; Neeru Dubey; Royce Gloria Androa; Bal Vipan Chander Mahajan; Dinie Espinal-Rueda; Ron Khosla
Temperature management is the key tool for reducing temperature losses in the developing world. Very few smallholder farmers have access to cooling or cool storage facilities, and even refrigerated transportation is a rarity. The unreliability of local electricity supplies, the expense of conventional coolers, and the lack of technical expertise for the installation and maintenance all have led to the search for alternative solutions such as evaporative cooling systems. Nevertheless, mechanical refrigeration still represents a simple and efficient solution to cooling produce, and is usually the only practical means for cooling to temperatures near freezing. For resource-limited farmers in the developing world, coolrooms and transportation systems employing mechanical refrigeration are economically and practically infeasible. We are testing an innovative system, the ‘Cool-bot'(TM), which uses an intelligent thermostat system controlling a standard room air conditioner to create a small-scale cooler out of a well-insulated room. Experiments include testing a range of potential insulating materials that might be used in installing or retrofitting coolrooms, evaluation of the Cool-bot(TM)/window air conditioner combination, and evaluation of the use of photovoltaic panels to power the system. For short-distance transport to local markets, cool transit can be achieved by placing properly-cooled produce in a well insulated truck or cart. Studies on novel insulating materials will also be applicable to such transportation systems.