The Agency for New and Renewable Energy Research and Technology (ANERT), a nodal agency of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, is all set to introduce a hi-tech solar-powered vaccine cold storage facility at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital (KMCH) to support cost-effective and secure preservation of life-saving vaccines maintaining the adequate refrigerated cold chain network.
It is claimed to be the first such ANERT initiative in Kerala, where renewable energy is used to power a customised outdoor container with remote temperature monitoring system, closed-circuit television camera surveillance and walk-in option to easily access the stock. Only some flooring works are now remaining at the spot.
ANERT technicians and the medical college authorities have been working for the realisation of the unique project for over six months. The trial operation is claimed to be a big success, according to some of the senior officials with the medical college pharmacy. Officials with the Kerala State Medical Supplies Cooperation are also happy with the output of the system, which is expected to be commissioned within a few weeks.
“The biggest advantage of the solar-powered cold storage is that it can assure us zero or minimal operational cost. Apart from this, the medical college will have an additional storage space ready to keep the required vaccines on time, noticing the actual requirements and available stock,” said P. Jayachandran, a senior pharmacist with KMCH who proposed the idea and approached the ANERT team for the project. He also recalled the support of KMCH Superintendent M.P. Sreejayan for the quick execution of the idea by clearing all technical hurdles.
The system can function on both grid power and alternative power supply in case of insufficient solar energy. If there is a temperature fluctuation, the cold storage room can automatically switch to the available alternative power supply for ensuring an unbroken cold chain.
The model is likely to be proposed in other government medical colleges and hospitals as well on completion of the successful commissioning here.