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Redesigning and constructing an efficient cold store with SVRG

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

08th January, 2020

Ecolife, (a social enterprise driving science and technology innovations in Agriculture) in partnership with Smart Village Research Group (SVRG) got a one-year grant from Efficiency for Access Coalition to put in place an efficient cold store. The grant is aimed at improving the efficiency and affordability of a cold storage solution in Uganda. It is in addition aimed at increasing the accessibility of the cold store to allow for more users i.e. both rural and urban users. The cold store is built using affordable and sustainable materials that are eco-friendly. Ecolife overall goal is to help 150,000 fruit and vegetable farmers to reduce on farm food loss through access to energy-efficient cold stores. This will reduce post-harvest losses as well as increase household income. Ecolife will test, share knowledge and skills to stimulate the scale-up of efficient and affordable off-grid cold chain services in rural Uganda.

Achievements so far:

The work of redesigning the cold store is based on scientific research of the different insulation and construction materials. During the first quarter of the year 2020, the team tested various locally-available insulation materials (mainly agricultural waste), construction bricks/blocks and roofing structures at the farmer innovation center (FIC) in Matugga.

The team after making boxes for use in testing the thermal performance of 11 different local insulation materials; cellulose fibre (from waste paper and card), rice husk, sawdust, used capped PET bottles, wood ash, maize stover , slab mattress foam, recycled polystyrene board, polyester fibre (pillow stuffing), recycled polystyrene pellets, banana fibre, and for comparison purposes commercial imported Kingspan (polyurethane) insulation board.

Designing little houses to test the thermal performance of 5 different local construction materials i.e. fired clay bricks, ISSBs (interlocking stabilized soil blocks), Porotherm commercial fired bricks, and commercial concrete blocks.

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