A new powerless refrigerator uses evaporation to keep food cool and prevent items from spoiling.
Great news for your next camping trip, yes, but even greater news for those parts of the world that are deprived of reliable electricity sources. As reported by Wonderfulengineering.com, for those who live in these regions, refrigeration isn’t just a way to preserve favorite foods, “it is a matter of survival itself…”
The idea for the electricity-free fridge recently captured first place in the Biomimicry Global Design Competition, sponsored by Montana-based Biomimicry Institute, which challenged students and researchers worldwide to develop nature-inspired products that address critical sustainability issues.
A team from the University of Calgary came up with the idea, and, according to sources, drew heavy inspiration from mammals who can store water and keep it cool for long periods of time so that they can use it later when water is scarce, such as elephants and burrowing animals, researchers said.
The refrigerator, named Windchill, uses heat-transfer technology to keep things cool. Warm air passes through an underground pipe that precools air before delivering it to a wet, coiled copper pipe present in an evaporation chamber. Once the water is inside, it begins to cool down because of the evaporating action through the moisture on the pipe. The cooled air eventually cools the inside compartment of the refrigerator.
No word at this point on plans to develop the refrigerator for commercial sale.
Eye on Innovation is a weekly look at cool technology, products and scientific advancements that we’ve mined from crowdsourcing sites and other corners of the Internet.