A self-sustainable outdoor field refrigeration unit, the Farm SunFridge uses solar energy, a thermal reservoir, and wetted fabric walls for off-grid and batteryless cooling of perishables.
FOR FARMERSThe Farm SunFridge is a cold storage designed for smallholder farmers in developing regions. Farmers will find it valuable because they can store perishables, including dairy products, on-farm or in their farming community, in cold conditions, even if they have no access to electricity. It can be built by farmers with some knowledge of construction using locally available materials and readily purchased components. The Farm SunFridge facilitates affordable entry for smallholder farmers into cold storage opportunities and can improve their ability to manage marketing their crop.
Locations of 5 existing Farm SunFridges:
Village Cullakpur, North Delhi, Delhi: 28°51’1.4″N, 77°11’51.00″E, built in January 2022
Pusa Farm SunFridge, IARI Exhibition ground, New Delhi: 28°38’4.30″N, 77°9’24.56″E, built in March 2021
Village Chamrara, Panipat, Haryana: 29°12’55.4″N 76°53’29.2″E, built in November 2020
Village Picholiya, Ajmer, Rajasthan: 26°24’28.3″N 74°28’09.6″E, built in March 2020, worked till May 2022.
Division of Agricultural Engineering, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi: 28°37’53.05″N, 77°9’6.64″E, Prototype built in March 2017
FOR RESEARCHERSThe Farm SunFridge embodies a number of innovations in off-grid cold storage. Researchers will find the technology of combining solar refrigeration with evaporative cooling in the Farm SunFridge interesting. Importantly, we have incorporated control circuitry for balancing refrigeration demands with available solar power and adopted use of an inexpensive water-based thermal reservoir to avoid use of batteries. We invite you to read more about our research project.
The Farm SunFridges (photos below) are built at village Cullakpur and at IARI Exhibition ground.
FOR POLICY MAKERS AND FUNDING AGENCIESFunding agencies and policymakers will understand the needs of smallholder farmers in developing regions. The Farm SunFridge can improve storability of perishables by bringing down product temperatures to around 10 °C when the outside temperatures are 35-45 °C, even when there is no electrical connection. This will allow the farmers to preserve their products within their communities for greater control of marketing and price. Funders and policymakers will find this off-grid cold store suitable for not only farms and farmer communities, but also for fruit and vegetable markets like “mandis”.