Four students at the University of Calgary have invented a refrigerator that does not need electricity to run, something that could benefit developing countries without reliable access to electricity.
“WindChill” is a food preservation unit that is developed to be used in impoverished areas and costs much less to operate than a typical fridge. Most interestingly, its system is designed after the temperature regulation used by mammals and insects.
“Coral and termites inspired the first step, kangaroos, bees, and elephants the second, and lastly meerkats and burrowing animals and leaves the third,” said the team’s project description for the Biomimcry Global Design Competition, a contest which they won recently.
“By emulating nature and creating conditions conducive to life we believe we have come up with a project can change the world of those who need it.”
The contraption works by drawing in air through a funnel outside the machine and passing it through a pipe which is floating in fluid. The fluid then evaporates, cooling the air inside the pipe. The cooled air then enters the underground refrigeration chamber where it cools the food.
The Biomimcry Global Design Competition is held each year to address sustainability issues with “nature inspired” solutions. This year’s theme was around food systems and how to develop a food system which promotes the health of the planet.