Solar Polar (www.solar-polar.co.uk) has developed and patented a solar-cooling technology that does not require electricity to operate, thereby addressing the technological challenge of providing cooling solutions in regions where on-grid electricity is unavailable or unreliable. The technology has a lifespan of over 20 years, is modular, silent, has no moving parts and will produce the lowest cost of cooling available worldwide to date.
Over 1bn people worldwide do not have access to mains electricity and therefore do not have access to cooling. Cooling is most needed where the sun is most intense, and therefore a solar-powered solution is the best option.
Current solar solutions involving photovoltaic technologies are prohibitively expensive and tend to be short-lived.
Solar Polar has developed a purely thermally driven robust solar cooling technology system. This is based on conventional solar absorption technology adapted using 21st-century materials and the result is the cheapest Watt of cooling.
The benefits offered by the solution include:
On-farm cooling as part of the cold chain in food supply
There are five aspects to the benefits provided by Solar Polar’s innovative system:
- Reduction of wastag
- Increase quality of food for sale by farmers to the distribution chain
- Farmers are able to hold inventory and increase the harvest window – resulting in increased rural incomes, and less accentuated food price peaks in cities
- Food safety
- Farmers can produce value-added products outside the harvest window (e.g. juices, rather than just fruits)
In India and Sub-Saharan Africa, 40+% of crops, vegetables and fruits perish in the distribution chain. On-farm pre-cooling is essential for an effective cold-chain. Improvements to the cold chain are a key element in the Indian government’s campaign to double rural incomes over 5 years, and the deployment of Solar-Polar’s on-farm small-scale off-grid cooling system has the potential to be a key element in these efforts.
A recent study published by the National Centre for Cold Chain Development in India found the advantages of on-farm cooling (using a diesel pre-cooler) to be:
- Decrease wastage by a factor of 4
- Increase transport profit by 10
- Reduce CO2 emissions by 16%
As our system is based on solar thermal cooling technology, the advantages are likely to be even greater
there are approximately 80 million small-scale Indian farms, indicating the potentially broad reach.
Access to cooling
In India alone, 200m people do not have access to grid electricity. Our solution has the potential to provide the benefits of refrigeration and air conditioning:
- Improved productivity
- Reduction in the burden of unpaid domestic work leading to higher family incomes and greater gender equality
The deployment of 240,000 units/year will create an annual carbon dioxide saving of 33,840 tonnes, equivalent to the emissions of 35,000 cars and will save an estimated 4,800,000MWh/year of electricity – approximately the generating power of 350 wind turbines.
Gender equality and social inclusion
The provision of solar-powered refrigeration allows food to be stored so family members are not 'tied to the home' in shopping for and cooking food several times a day. This enhances gender equality and social inclusion as the main cook in the house has increased opportunities for other educational or work activities.
The system is robust and suitable for local manufacture, installation and maintenance at low cost.
The lowest cost of cooling and the ability to work off-grid makes the technology highly applicable for rural areas in developing countries.