Innovative off-grid fridges to give a sure chill to vaccines
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
[MANILA] The Philippines is set to receive donations of medical refrigerators with an innovative cooling technology that runs without electricity for up to ten days or more, ensuring the viability of vaccines especially in disaster-affected areas, SciDev.Net has learned.
The unique cooling system, called Sure Chill, will power 220 vaccine refrigerators donated by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) starting February. According to UNICEF, the Sure Chill refrigerators will help save lives and rebuild the cold chain infrastructure that keeps vaccines safe and effective but which has been severely damaged by the super typhoonHaiyan last November. Each donated Sure Chill refrigerator costs about US$2,600.
The technology harnesses the physics of water to store energy. When power is supplied, the water within the Sure Chill system cools and forms ice in a reservoir adjacent to the refrigerator compartment. This leaves only water of 4 degrees Celsius cooling the chamber, claimed to be perfect for storing vaccines. If the supply is turned off or interrupted, the refrigerator is said to still continue to operate effectively until the ice stored has completely melted.