Next month, attendees of the MIT Emerging Technologies conference may see a prototype of a very cool refrigeration system. Promethean Power Systems is working on a solar-powered refrigerator for use in rural areas where electricity is scarce or unreliable, so perishables like dairy and medicines can be safely stored.
The invention sounds pretty neat – solar panels on the roof of the refrigeration shed will gather the energy needed to convert electricity into cold air via thermoelectric modules. Should the project be a success, and commercialization possible, this could be a huge relief for rural areas.
One may be wondering how on earth a poor area could get an expensive machine such as this. Promethean Power is eyeballing businesses like food distributors and processors in India that want a better method than diesel generators to keep their products cooled. This will enable them to further save money by reducing the transportation costs involved in collecting products from farmers several times a day – they can make the trips just once.
However, the big challenge still is getting a highly efficient, affordable product put together, and one that will stay cold when the sun isn’t around to generate the energy needed for cooling. Promethean Power will be hunting for funding after the prototype is completed.
written by Peter Mackay, September 12, 2008
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