Un-Electric "pot-in-a-pot" fridge
Thursday, 02 September 2004 10:35
This is an interesting design, for a pot-in-a-pot refrigerator, while its pitched for an African context, I could see this providing a potential solution to reduce power usage, especially in off-grid situations. It might also provide a better solution, functionally, and environmentally than polystyrene boxes for example for market stalls.
Mohammed Bah Abba's Pot-in-Pot is one of my favourite design innovations ever. Without electrical refrigeration, until now Northern Nigeria's poor agricultural population has had no access to food preservation:
"The device owes its cooling powers to a simple law of thermodynamics. When moisture comes into contact with dry air, it evaporates, causing an immediate drop in temperature. When the water in the sand between the two pots evaporates, the inner pot is kept cool, preserving the goods inside."
Clearly 'high-tech' is a matter of perspective. Aside from the benefits to subsistence farmers, the Pot-in-Pot has initiated a cascade of positive effects:
"Abba's project has brought about major changes for many Nigerians: eggplants can last for 27 days rather than three, African spinach can be kept for 12 days instead of spoiling after one day, while tomatoes and peppers stay fresh for three weeks. Food hygiene standards and overall health are improving.
"The Pot-in-Pot's flow-on benefits for Northern Nigeria are widespread, helping to slow the rural exodus to the cities. Farmers no longer need to sell their produce in a hurry. Business is growing, and the revival of the local pottery industry is also helping to reduce the region's high unemployment.
"The Pot-in-Pot is also a step forward for women in the region, as young girls are free to attend school, instead of hawking food every day. Already, village primary schools report an increase in the number of girls enrolled."
Recent articles from Mitra's blog