The Agency for New and Renewable Energy Research and Technology (ANERT) has successfully completed the trial operation of a hi-tech solar-powered vaccine storage container at Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode. Electricity Minister K. Krishnankutty will inaugurate the new project, claimed to be the first such initiative in the State, on Wednesday.
The container, fitted with 7-kW solar panels for steady power supply, has a storage capacity of five metric tonnes to meet the additional requirements at the Medical College Hospital. Sourcing direct sunlight for at least five hours a day, it can function for 30 hours continuously by maintaining the ideal storage temperature.
It has a remote temperature monitoring system that can pass alerts. Racks have been created for easy segregation and safe-keeping of different types of medicines. Costly medicines used in cancer treatment will mainly be preserved in the extended storage facility.
According to ANERT technicians, the safety of the medicines can be guaranteed as the container is designed in such a way to operate on both grid power and alternative power supply in case of insufficient solar energy. In case of a temperature variation, the cold storage room will automatically shift to the other available power source for ensuring an unbroken cold chain. There is also a proposal to design similar models for other government medical college hospitals.
Pharmacists at the hospital say the main advantage of the new cold storage system is that it can reduce the operational cost to a significant level by sourcing renewable energy. The storage of emergency medicines will also be possible with the commissioning of the project which has been lauded by the Kerala Medical Services Corporation, they add.