The Appropriate Technology Collaborative has entered the NASA Tech Briefs Create The Future Contest with our Solar Vaccine Refrigerator.
Please visit the Tech Briefs Site and vote for our entry.
About 2 million people around the world die each year of diseases preventable by widely used vaccines. In Africa and parts of Asia over half of all vaccines that require refrigeration spoil before they can be administered. Millions of lives and billions of dollars are lost due to a lack of refrigeration.
For vaccines to be safely administered in rural parts of Africa and Asia one needs a novel inexpensive, easy to maintain refrigerator that provides World Health Organization and UNICEF compliant “chain-of-cold” storage of vaccines. It should run on free non-polluting solar energy and it should be built in-country.
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative (ATC) worked with engineering students and professors at Michigan State University to create a unique refrigeration technology.
The ATC Solar Vaccine Refrigerator is a robust, easy to maintain technology that can be made in the country or region where it is to be used. It is made out of simple materials that can be found in most cities: steel, charcoal and ethanol or methanol. The finished product has no moving parts that need maintenance and it doesn’t use electricity of any kind. One simply places it in sunlight and it freezes. Period. (Note: If the sun doesn’t shine it can run on biofuels)
Simplicity and sustainability guided the design of the Solar Vaccine Refrigerator. There are only a few parts connected together by pipe. A steel box filled with activated charcoal, a series of pipes with cooling fins and a container of ethanol. There are no valves in the system.