GLOBAL CHALLENGES: PROBLEM SOLVING FOR PEOPLE & THE PLANET
Sprout and Draper collaborated to design and engineer a low-cost, low-energy mobile refrigerator, to combat global refrigeration challenges, sponsored by the Gates Foundation. The refrigerator keeps milk from contamination from airborne diseases such as wisteria. This is a serious problem in developing countries, where lack of access to power can prevent people from keeping their perishables cold. Using thermoelectric technology, the cooling system allows villages to store their milk overnight and transport it to 15 miles to pasteurization facilities. The unit requires minimal power and can also operate from off-grid power sources.
Sprout designed the product to be durable, rugged and look innovative. The chassis is constructed to allow the top-chilling unit to be removed while the bottom refrigeration unit is being transported. The chiller uses the water and heat transfer to cool the milk while excess warm water can be used for cleaning and bathing. The chassis is constructed of anodized aluminum to keep it lightweight and strong. We designed an airless wheel system to avoid flats on rough terrain which also utilizes a regenerative hub that powers a battery to keep things cool while on the go. The multifunctional handle design allows the user to comfortably pull the refrigerator by hand while walking, or it can be attached to bicycle or motorcycle for rapid transport.
The pressing problems facing humankind and the planet are not well addressed by mass-market off-the-shelf products. Draper’s Global Challenges initiative applies our substantial engineering capabilities to solve these problems by looking beyond the technology to understand the problem by looking beyond the technology to understand the problem space. The correct technology solution is rarely obvious. For example, designing the world’s most efficient refrigerator does nothing for those without reliable electricity. Technology-only solutions that don’t address the right questions are destined to fail. Draper’s Global Challenges initiative approaches these problems by working hand-in-hand with our partners – to understand the problem deeply and to develop sustainable solutions that work. That’s why we can make unique inroads.