Low-cost Efficient Rural Cold Storage in Uganda

SVRG is carrying this project out jointly with our partner in Uganda, social enterprise EcoLife Foods, based in Matugga, north of Kampala. This project is funded by the Efficiency for Access Coalition.

Our partners in Uganda, Ecolife Foods, have developed an innovative low-cost local-technology driven cold storage solution, and were finalists in the CLASP/Global LEAP Off-Grid Cold Chain Challenge 2018. We are interested in working together to develop and test improvements to the cooling technology, the locally-sourced insulation and construction techniques, pre-cooling phase, and in order to improve productivity gains of local users, innovative uses of the waste heat generated by the hub (eg for drying produce and to provide hot water) and of the excess solar PV generated.

EcoLife’s mk1 cold store
  1. In particular, we will examine how the current PET bottle wall insulation material EcoLife uses can be improved upon, by testing the manufacturing feasibility and thermal performance of insulation material from locally-available wastes (rPET, paper, card, agricultural residues and agricultural products such as coir and banana fibre). We will use a hammer mill to produce the insulation, and use appropriate additives to prevent insect attack, to fireproof the insulation and as binders if necessary.
  2. We will test the thermal performance and cost of stabilised earth blocks as an alternative to concrete/clay bricks.
  3. We will research how internal partitioning can be used within the cold storage facility to produce zones of different temperatures, for optimally preserving different products.
  4. We will research the design of a passive pre-cooling chamber that will reduce the energy and thermal demand on the cold store itself.
  5. And we will research optimum productive uses of the waste heat of the system (hot water, crop drying for value addition) and of the excess PV.
  6. Finally, we will assemble the optimum recommendations of each stage into a test system, and gather user feedback and impact data.

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