By Andrew Liszewski
A steady supply of electricity is definitely something a lot of us take for granted, but in many parts of the world that’s a luxury. And while you might panic during a blackout that the mayonaise in your fridge could go bad, imagine the risk of losing thousands of dollars worth of life-saving medications and vaccines. That scenario is what prompted a company called True Energy to develop their special ‘Vaccine Refrigerator’ which is able to maintain a constant temperature of below 10˚C for up to 10 days without a drop of external power. Even if the temps outside hit 43˚C.
The refrigerator employs the company’s Sure Chill technology which is a combination of a built-in rechargeable battery powered either by the grid, a solar panel, or a combination of the two, as well as some heavy-duty insulation. And thanks to something they refer to as their “innovative phase change material” and some intelligent temperature monitoring, the fridge is able to make adjustments on the fly, keeping a constant stabilized temperature even when warmer items have been added. As an added bonus, so as not to be a load on an already taxed grid when power is available, the Vaccine Refrigerator runs on less than 5 hours of electricity when drawing it from the grid, which also serves to keep costs down.
At the moment True Energy’s Vaccine Refrigerator is already in use by the World Health Organization and Unicef, but the company is exploring more commercial uses given how energy efficient the technology is.