Saving lives using solar refrigerators

The SolarChill project is providing an environmentally friendly means of refrigerating vaccines and certain drugs. The aim is to replace the 100 000 kerosene refrigerators in use today: these refrigerators emit unpleasant fumes, can catch fire and each consumes about 1 litre of kerosene (costing USD 1 and rising) per day, representing 7300-9100 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. Danish Technological Institute (DTI) and Vestfrost have developed the hydrocarbon (HC) SolarChill chest freezer and vaccine cooler prototypes and Danfoss Denmark (IIR corporate member) developed the direct-current hydrocarbon compressor used. HCs are also used in the insulation. The price of SolarChill vaccine coolers and refrigerators will be USD 1500-2000, i.e. 40-50% lower than existing solar models. Mass production will further lower the price and lifetime maintenance costs will be low. DTI, Greenpeace International, PATH, GTZ Proklima, UNICEF, UNEP, and WHO have joined forces on the SolarChill project and field tests are under way in Cuba, Indonesia and Senegal.