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Solar heat driven cold storage for horticultural products

The project aims to deliver a novel 100% solar energy-driven, vacuum insulated cold storage facility for addressing the needs of the Kenyan smallholders. Banana is an important source of income and nutrition accounting for 36% of the fruit produced in Kenya and 11.1% of the total value of domestic horticulture. It contributes to 30-70% of household income of farmers, the majority of whom are women. In 2017, Kenya produced 1.6 million ton banana with a market value of $350m. There are approximately 1 million stakeholders, farmers and subsector employees, who are economically dependent on banana sector. Despite its immense importance in household economics and nutrition value, there is no scientific, climate-controlled storage facility leading to a loss of 25-45% of the banana crop every year. 

At Kenya, level solar energy run cold storage (SolCoS) technology will benefit stakeholders in the banana sector and millions producing other horticultural products. Additionally, this project will unleash an opportunity for solar heat technology in African and global cold storage industry catering to horticulture farmers.

The project is funded through Round 9 of the AgriTech Catalyst which is funded jointly by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), delivered by Innovate UK.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Harjit Singh
Dr Harjit Singh - Dr Singh received his BEng, and MEng (IIT Roorkee, India) with specialisation in Mechanical and Thermal Engineering disciplines and PhD (University of Ulster, UK) in experimental evaluation of natural convective heat transfer in CPC solar collector cavities. He was a Senior Lecturer in Renewable Energy at the Kingston University London (2009-2011) prior to accepting the current position. He has six years of research experience on various EU, EPSRC, the Carbon Trust and Defra funded projects. Dr Singh was previously a Lecturer of Mechanical Engineering at National Institute of Technology Hamirpur, India. His research focuses on various aspects of solar energy systems, energy use in built environment. Topics currently being researched into include design and development of novel concentrating solar collectors, vacuum insulation panels and building retrofit for improved energy efficiency.

Related Research Group(s)

food preservation

Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains - Energy demand and GHG emissions reduction in all stages of the food chain; optimal ways the food chain can utilise different energy sources and interact with the energy supply system; resource efficiency through intensification of food processing.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 13/10/2023