Inviro Choice Off Grid solution makes it to finals!

20 pallet vacuum cooler

20 pallet vacuum cooler

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

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 run off 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 energy storage.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.

2 pallet vacuum cooler

2 pallet vacuum cooler for sale

If we can reduce post harvest loss we will also increase the amount of profit for the farmer, reduce the amount of water waste (irrigated into crops) and there will inevitably be more food available for the increasing population.

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 a method of cooling for a lot of farmers supplying supermarkets all over the world because of how well the technology reduces post harvest loss and extend’s the shelf life of the product by rapidly removing the field heat and 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 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 concludes 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 super markets in the UK.

20 pallet vacuum cooler

20 pallet vacuum cooler

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 works. We have had a really tough few years financing the development of this solution but by sticking together through the hard times and the good times  we have reached this major milestone in securing a place in the finals of Global Leap Off Grid Cold Chain Challenge…

We would all so 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..