Parul Sharma

NEW DELHI: Applying science and technology to suit the needs of rural areas, a student of Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi has designed a 130-litre “village food cooler” that does not require electricity for its operation.

The cooler, which is modelled on a refrigerator, has a 25-litre water tank above it, with pieces of earthen pots and charcoal arranged in between a wire mesh to provide its outer covering.

This was one of many projects displayed at “I2Tech Open House 2009” on the IIT-Delhi campus here over the weekend.

Chandra Bhan Prajapati, the M.Tech. first year student of Design Engineering who has designed the cooler, explained: “The water tank has holes in it which are fixed with screws. With the help of these screws we can adjust the water flow. The water when released gets absorbed by the pieces of earthen pots and charcoal. The cooling occurs the way it happens in a matka.”

The “village food cooler” costs only Rs.700 and can bring down the temperature to between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius at the peak of summer.

“No electricity is required to run this cooler. Poor people can easily afford it. It keeps fruits and vegetables fresh for a longer time. This will also help to prevent epidemics like cholera in rural areas where spoiling of food is very rampant. It is a no-maintenance device. It is as good as a refrigerator at a very low cost,” said Chandra Bhan.

Once the water tank is filled up to its brim, the appliance can offer cooling for up to ten hours. Though the earthen pieces absorb most of the water, whatever little goes waste can be collected back in a bucket and used again.