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Low cost solar powered food cold storage and distribution


Project description

The aim of the Sol-Tech project is to develop and implement a modular, highly efficient, low-cost solar-powered cold chain technology for precooling, cold storage and distribution of perishable vegetables and fruits, able to serve remote rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa and India which do not have access to electrical power.

Primary objectives are:

  • i) contribute to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as access to sustainable energy, increasing the value addition of the agri-food sector, alleviation of poverty and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers;
  • ii) engagement with stakeholders in sub-Saharan Africa and India in the design, manufacture and commercialisation of the Sol-Tech system to benefit local industry and create employment opportunities:
  • iii) enhancing the capability of stakeholders by providing engagement and evidence to inform policy decisions and appropriate interventions to enhance the value and benefits of sustainable horticulture and investment in new approaches and technologies to improve value and resilience against climate change;
  • iv) expose and engage women and teenagers to advanced but user-friendly technologies and high-value agricultural activities to improve, their skills, income and livelihoods.

To address the above objectives, the project involves the design and development of the Sol-Tech cold chain technology and its demonstration at 6 sites across sub-Saharan Africa (Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria) and India. We expect that successful demonstration of the technologies in these countries and publicity that will result from it, will lead to the expansion of collaborations in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This will contribute to the University’s Internationalisation Strategy and will benefit our undergraduate and postgraduate students through engagement in both short and major projects in the fields of sustainable energy and food, with potential for global impacts.

This project has been funded as part of UKRI’s GCRF Innovation and Commercialisation Programme, developed to fast track promising research findings into real-world solutions.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Savvas Tassou - Academic and Professional Qualifications - BSc (1st Class Honours) Mechanical Engineering, PhD Department of Mechanical Engineering. Thesis titled `An Investigation of the Criteria to Give Optimum Performance from a Variable Capacity Heat Pump\'., MBA Master of Business Administration., CEng Chartered Engineer., MIMechE Corporate member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers., MASHRAE Member of the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.., MIIR – Member of International Institute of Refrigeration, FInstR - Fellow of the Institute of Refrigeration, Academic Career - 1978 - 1981 Research Assistant - University of Westminster, 1981 - 1986 Lecturer in thermofluids and energy - University of Westminster, 1986 to date - Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader/Professor in Thermodynamics and Building Services Engineering - Brunel University London, 2001 - 2004 - Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2004 - 2014 - Head of School of Engineering and Design, 2014 to date - Director of Institute of Energy Futures,