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Future Tech: 

This fridge doesn’t need a plug

It may look like a science-fiction prop, but these fridges need less power than anything on the silver screen.

It may look like a science-fiction prop, but these fridges need less power than anything on the silver screen.

Quite a lot of the technology we cover on Go Explore requires electricity. It’s undoubtedly neat, but ignores a problem western markets often overlook: electricity isn’t 100% reliable or affordable the world over. That’s why it’s refreshing to report on a product that doesn’t have a plug, and uses science to find a power-less solution to a genuine problem affecting millions worldwide.

Meet the Evaptainer, a portable fridge that works without electricity. According to a Food and Agriculture Organization study, in some parts of Africa 40 percent of produce spoils before its consumed, meaning this could really cut down on food waste if widely adopted. It’s currently being trialled in Morocco with a couple of test units.

The name is the clue as to how it works: it uses the evaporative cooling process, with a compartment that holds six liters of water, drawing the heat off 60 liters of product for up to 12 hours. Heat is drawn out of the Evaptainer’s insides onto conducive aluminum plates, which are connected to a special fabric, kept wet from the water. The heat is then dissipated, keeping the fruits and veggies within from going bad.

These should cost somewhere between $10 and $20, and were designed with rugged portability in mind: no pumps or fans. “This needs to be able to drop off a moped and still work,” co-founder Spencer Taylor told CNN Money.

The project started as the brainchild of Quang Truong, MIT student with the assignment of coming up with a product that would improve the lives of one billion people. With so much food spoiled through unreliable or expensive electricity, the Evaptainer certainly could live up to that brief.

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