Cold chain running on sun and water

Cold chain and refrigeration remain a major challenges in emerging markets. Often products are transported with limited or no refrigeration, with many products end up spoiled or degraded. High cost, poor and unreliable electricity supply are all major barriers.

Quang Truong, a graduate student at the Tufts Fletcher School and MIT, and Spencer Taylor, co-founded Evaptainer to address the problem. Evaporative cooling is a low-tech refrigeration technique, which helps keep products fresher for longer, using just water and the sun. Each container requires six litres of water , costs $10-$20 and keeps products chilled for 12 hours.

The company is currently running a pilot in Morocco, focused on high-value fruits and vegetables that spoil quickly (e.g. olives, berries). Morocco’s thriving agriculture sector has only 1,500 refrigerated trucks , and employs around 40% of the nation’s workforce. The founders estimate that between “30% to 35% of food produced in Morocco rots before it reaches the end-consumer.”