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Development of a power-free cold box

07.04.2021

In close collaboration with EssentialTech and the Laboratory for Functional Inorganic Materials (LFIM) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), SolidarMed is developing a cold box over the next two years that does not require electricity and can maintain a temperature of 2 to 8 °C for weeks.

To be able to carry out extensive vaccination campaigns, a continuous cold chain must be guaranteed.

In low-income areas, the lack of a continuous cold chain, for example due to an unstable electricity grid, means that vaccine doses have to be disposed of. Every year, 25% of vaccinations have to be disposed of for this reason. Every year, 1.5 million children under the age of five die due to lack of access to vaccinations. This situation is unacceptable.

Aim of the project

The current refrigerators are expensive, require a lot of electricity and contain environmentally harmful refrigerants. The aim of the project is to develop a low-cost and electricity-free cold box for the transport and storage of vaccine doses to enable large-scale vaccination campaigns.

The possibility of constant cooling of vaccine doses can improve the effectiveness of vaccination distribution systems and generally make vaccination possible in poor and remote areas. Furthermore, a successful prototype of such a box could also be interesting for private households and village shops to store or sell fresh food.

Through SolidarMed, the cold box can be tested under real conditions and thus specifically adapted to the challenging contexts. Thus, in addition to the laboratory at EPFL, the prototypes are also being tested in northern Mozambique with the local health system - for example during vaccination campaigns.