ICL off grid cooling solution selected as finalists
Inviro Choice Off Grid solution makes it to finals!
Next stop Africa….
Inviro Choice Limited (ICL) are proud to announce our off grid technology has been selected as finalists for the huge Global Leap competition – Off Grid Cold Chain Challenge http://globalleap.org/coldchain/
Inviro Choice Limited (ICL) are proud to announce that our off grid product has been selected as a finalists for the huge Global LEAP competition – Off Grid Cold Chain Challenge http://globalleap.org/coldchain/
The Global LEAP Off-Grid Cold Chain Challenge (OGCCC) is an international competition to identify and promote the most energy-efficient, sustainable and cost-effective technologies that can meet the cold storage requirements for fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products in the following countries: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
The Challenge was developed in partnership with Energy 4 Impact and support from the UK Department for International Development through the Ideas to Impact Programme to stimulate off-grid cold chain refrigeration for farmers and small traders, enabling better commercialisation of agricultural produce.
Fourteen expert judges evaluated 28 entries from 12 countries and 5 continents. ICL are one of ten finalists who were evaluated and selected based on financial viability, potential end-user impact, understanding of the product’s target market and overall sustainability.
We first heard about the competition in February this year. At this stage we where already in the process of developing our off grid cooling solution. Our technology consists of a vacuum cooler integrated with cold storage and powered by renewable energy.
We have adapted the traditional engineering behind the vacuum cooler and dramatically reduced the energy consumption. Our new design is completely off grid with onboard energy storage included to enable continued operation when renewable energy sources are low or temporarily unavailable (such as on cloudy days when solar is being used as the source). Inviro Choice Limited director Sean Roche originally started developing the technology as a potential solution to reduce post harvest loss in developing countries.
Post harvest loss
Post harvest food loss reduction is a significant challenge for farmers and growers in the developing economies of the world, where spoilage of produce can lead to as much as 50% of harvested food not reaching the marketplace. This is not only a tragedy for the producers themselves, who suffer from reduced income and lost business opportunities as a result, but also an environmental and resources issue in terms of unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and wasted agricultural inputs of energy, water and land.
Many developing economies are located in tropical and sub-tropical regions where the production of perishable produce, such as fruits and vegetables, represents a substantial proportion of the income to the people. Cooling such produce to an optimum temperature immediately upon harvest is crucial in ensuring that food entering the supply chain has the best chance of maintaining shelf life for as long as possible. This is particularly important where ambient temperatures are high.
Technology for postharvest cooling is available but typically relies on grid electricity or diesel gen-set supplied power to operate. In a world where 1.2 billion, mostly rural based, people have no access to reliable grid supplied electricity the provision of alternative off-grid solutions is essential. This is particularly important in the case of developing economies, where diesel gen-sets are an unsustainable solution due to high costs, unreliable fuel sourcing and fuel price volatility, as well as their potential environmental impact through greenhouse gas and other emissions.
By reducing post harvest loss we will increase the amount of income and profit for the farmer, reduce the amount of water wasted on irrigating crops that end up as lost produce, and increase the amount of food available for the the world’s growing population numbers.
Inviro Choice Limited
Inviro Choice Limited is made up of 2 x sectors air conditioning and vacuum cooling/ refrigeration manufacturing and maintenance. Vacuum cooling is an efficient method of cooling for the rapid removal of post harvest field heat and is used by many farmers around the world who supply supermarkets because of how well the technology reduces produce losses and extend’s the shelf life of the product by slowing down the rotting process. The extra long shelf life is very important to give the food the best chance of reaching the consumer before it starts to rot.
Before today vacuum cooling technology has only been an option to those with a reliable source of electricity or a diesel gen-set, this fact rules out almost 1.2 Billion people who live in rural communities from accessing the technology.
To put things into perspective using lettuce as an example (exact results depends on produce and climate):
- 2 days without refrigeration
- 7 days using cold store or fridge
- Up to 21 days using a vacuum cooler and refrigeration
Inviro Choice Limited team have been working tirelessly over the past few years to develop our technology which consists of a vacuum cooling system integrated with a cold store, all run 100% off grid. Our technology is essentially addressing the pressing issue of post harvest loss head on and offering a solution where a small hold farmer in a rural area with no access to electricity can make their harvest last just as long as the farmers supplying major supermarkets in the UK.
Thank you to everyone involved
I would like to thank all of the team here at ICL. We are a small company trying to achieve big results. To date we still have not received any funding towards the development of the product. All of our research and development work is funded entirely from profits made from our commercial vacuum cooling and refrigeration work.
We would also like to thank all of our loyal customers who, with out knowing it, have contributed to this project just by using our services . Again all profits from our everyday vacuum cooling and refrigeration business has directly funded the development of this solution so far.
If you are interested in getting involved with Inviro Choice by donating/investing or collaborating into ICL please get in touch.