A refrigerator that uses solar energy combined with the traditional cooling mechanism of clay water matkas (pots) would be a cool idea. And now it seems it may have been accomplished within cost that even rural inhabitants of a developing country may be able to afford. I just read about this innovation from rural India in the newspapers. According to the Hindu Business Online,
“[t]he brown, rectangular refrigerator has an inlet for water, which is circulated in the system through internal piping. The refrigerator has a tap from which chilled drinking water flows out. Mansukh Prajapati, who put together the contraption, says, “What I have devised is `Mitticool – a village fridge’. It is a refrigerator made from special clay with three or more chambers for cooling water and storing fruits and vegetables.”
I am still looking up more technical details to see how the mechanism actually works, and will share as they become more available. Coming from a hot country where electricity is rather expensive an unreliable, I think this may be a remarkable innovation. Mitticool = Clay cool.
Several such innovations are being featured in a multi-part series on Discovery Channel titled “Beyond Tomorrow“. See a review of some technologies featured in the series here. Some Indian innovations mentioned in the list include a pedal operated washing machine, the clay-solar refrigerator, Micro windmill mobile charger, an amphibious bicycle, a tree climber etc…
AHMEDABAD – October 13: Indian inventor Mansukhbhai Prajapati poses with his ‘Mitticool Village Fridge’ at a stall at a craft fair here on Friday. The fridge, in which vegetables can remain fresh for five days and milk for two days, is made from clay and requires no electricity to operate. It runs on solar power. It takes eight days to make a fridge which is priced from 2,000 Indian rupees.—AFP