A team of engineering students from Mysore Vidyavardhaka Engineering College has designed a solar mobile refrigerator in which vegetables can be stored for a long time in this refrigerator and at the same time its cost is also very less.
Naveen HV, who lives in Mandya district of Karnataka, hails from an agricultural family. He has seen very closely the problems that a farmer often faces. Apart from this, he is also very well versed in the process from growing the crop to reaching the vendor and then the customer.
He was very well aware that it takes time for the vegetables grown in the fields to reach the customers and till then it is a daunting task for the vendors to keep the vegetables fresh.
Naveen and his college friends, Shubham Sen, Supreet S and Vivek Chandrasekhar thought of finding a solution to this problem. They studied together at Vidyavardhaka College of Engineering, Mysore. Together they have recently created a low cost solar cooling cart in which vegetables can be kept fresh for a long time which will especially benefit the roadside vendors.
The team did field research and analysed each and every thing to understand the daily problems faced by vegetable vendors.
Farmers usually keep their produce in an open space, so there is always the issue of cleanliness. Storing vegetables is the biggest challenge for these vendors. My friends and I also took suggestions from professors and experts and visited many industries to find a solution to this drawback.Naveen, a sixth-semester mechanical engineering student, says
These engineering students first made this machine while participating in a competition organized by the Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning (ISHRAE).
The team has made a cart (Solar Refrigerator), which has an air-cooled chamber. This chamber uses solar energy for electricity.
The current model needs to be charged once a day at home and after that, it runs on solar energy. When the battery runs out, solar energy generates electricity, which recharges the battery. It is similar to the working of a solar inverter. “Higher capacity solar panels can be used, but we have limited it to 150 watts to make it cost-effective.”He explains
Generally, a temperature of 5 to 10 degrees Celsius is needed to keep vegetables fresh. They have tried to increase the usefulness of the cart in such a way that it can keep fresh not only vegetables or fruits but also dairy products for a longer period of time. For this, he has set the temperature in the cart between 0 to 10 degree Celsius.
Naveen says that the biggest feature of this innovation is low cost. Each cart costs around Rs 52,000.
NP Muthuraj, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, who guided the team on this project says, “Currently, existing carts with cooling chambers cost over Rs 1 lakh, but our model (Solar Refrigerator) costs about half that.
Talking about the challenges involved in making the cart, another member of the team says, We completed the project in very less time, during our fifth semester exams. It was challenging to do this project with exams, but we learned a lot from all these experiences. Moreover, the project turned out better than we expected. ,Supreet S, explains
By making some improvements, the price will be further reduced and we are trying to improve the model to make it even better.
According to Naveen, the cooling solar cart works exactly like a refrigerator and can keep vegetables fresh for about 7 to 10 days. He adds, Our model needs some further improvements, after which it will be mass-produced and try to bring down its price further, so that it becomes easier for sellers to buy it.