A fish technologist has designed a portable insulated fish-hold from old, discarded refrigerators to store fresh fish without using power. It is a less expensive way to keep fish fresh longer, Sudhakar N.S., professor and head of the Department of Fish Processing Technology, College of Fisheries, Mangalore, who has designed the fish-hold, has said.
The fish-hold is a fridge cleaned of all accessories and has its door on top. It is modified into a box with insulation on four sides with the door for loading and unloading.
It can be used by fishermen, fresh fish traders, and vendors to keep fish fresh, he said.
The fish-hold consumes less ice, chills faster, and keeps fish fresh longer, said Mr. Sudhakar.
While 100 kg of fish requires 100 kg of ice, the fish-hold uses 50 kg of ice for the same quantity of fish.
Because of the PUF insulation, the ice melts slowly at 25 per cent. 100 kg of ice turns into water after three days.
“The aim is to keep the fish at 0 degree Centigrade,” he said. The fish temperature should be reduced to zero degrees as soon as possible.
The fish-hold comes as a box, and as a cart (with wheels and a handle), it comes in three different sizes. A fish-hold of a 300 L fridge would store 250 kg of fish, that of 170 L would hold 120 kg of fish, and of 150 L would store 110 kg of fish.
Fish could be arranged based on species, size. It had detachable compartments to suit the quantity and size of fish and drains less water, Mr. Sudhakar said.
Similar insulated plastic boxes available commercially cost Rs.1,800 (for 50 kg capacity), to Rs.4,150 (150 kg). Though the fridges do not come in corresponding capacities, an old fridge sold by scrap dealers costs Rs. 750. It takes Rs.100 to modify it, he said.
He may patent the fish-hold after adding a thermometer and timer, which would tell the vendor how fresh the fish is. Meanwhile, T.K. Manjunath, Principal, Yenepoya School, said two students from the school had taken up the integration of the thermometer and timer into the fish-hold as part of a research project.
The box can be used by fishermen, fishing boats, fish markets, and street fish vendors.
Hotels, canteens, ice cream vendors, and hospitals too could use it.
One could store milk, bottled water, meat, well-packaged poultry, flowers, fruits, vaccine and drugs.
Shankar K.M., Dean, Fisheries, said once it was commercially viable, some entrepreneur must come forward to collect the discarded fridges from the scrap dealers.