A fridge that keeps its cool.... A UK inventor’s idea is set to revolutionise the refrigeration industry
Refrigeration hasn’t changed in more than 100 years. Consumers have learnt blithely to accept energy-guzzling fridges that periodically need defrosting, or develop mysterious warm pockets. Existing systems also require a consistent power supply, which is a huge challenge for vaccine storage in the developing world.
Now, one British inventor has developed a new cooling technology, as simple and cheap to make as a bottle of water, that is set to revolutionise the refrigeration industry.
Ian Tansley has created a system that remains cold for up to 12 days without power. It maintains a consistent temperature throughout the fridge, eliminating the hot and cold fluctuations. The impact of such technology is significant. Not only can vaccines be safely transported to off-grid rural areas in developing nations where diseases such as polio still claim hundreds of lives each year, the massive energy savings will benefit both people and planet.
Tansley’s Snowdonia-based firm, Sure Chill, has spent almost a decade developing the technology. Its vaccine fridges are now in use in 40 countries around the world. In the first three months of this year, the United Nations’ children’s organisation, Unicef, is using 200 of its fridges to transport drugs to the Philippines as part of the relief effort.
Tansley came up with the idea for the ground-breaking invention while walking through the Gwynedd countryside in North Wales. “I was inspired by a frozen lake,” he says. “I thought, 'If hot water rises, why is the top of the lake frozen and not the bottom?’ That’s what gave me the idea. It’s just so simple and works with the density of water.”