On 10 December, the Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund announced the successful completion of the Sure Chill company’s ‘Smart Box’ project, designed to make domestic refrigeration more efficient and affordable in developing countries.
The Cardiff-based cooling technology company has developed an innovative refrigerator control platform that can be integrated with solar home systems. The project received funding from UK aid through the Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund in 2019.
Many people living in developing countries cannot afford appliances available on the market, including refrigerators. In Kenya, for example, an off-grid refrigerator and system can cost at least US$1,000. As a result, only 4% of households without access to the electrical grid in sub-Saharan Africa own a refrigerator.
Having identified this need, the Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund supported Sure Chill in developing a prototype device that could be scaled for mass production to reduce the costs of off-grid domestic refrigeration, while improving overall system performance. Sure Chill estimates that the integration of the ‘Gen2 Smart Box’ into its off-grid domestic refrigerator results in an $84 cost reduction for customers.
Sam Mann, CEO Sure Chill Global, commented:
‘The Efficiency for Access Research and Development Funding was pivotal in enabling Sure Chill to develop its Smart Box refrigeration control platform. This has led to significant reductions in the cost of off-grid domestic refrigeration, an important step towards unlocking universal and clean access to refrigeration.’
The first version of the smart controller developed by Sure Chill, has already been integrated into 90 domestic refrigerators delivered to Kenya for a sales trial with a solar home system provider, which is working across sub-Saharan Africa. Larger production runs are planned for 2021 and will incorporate the GEN2 Smart Box controller, which is being finalised for full production.