Innovation That Matters

The Kano cools and could even be used to grow food | Photo source Dyson Award

Clay-based cooler keeps food cold without electricity

Food & Drink

A team of students has developed a cooler that uses traditional clay construction to maintain food temperatures

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Spotted: Although global access to electricity is growing, it has been estimated that around 1.2 billion people, or 16 per cent of the world’s population, still live without a refrigerator. This can mean spending more money on food because fresh food must be purchased almost every day.  A team of students from the Asia Pacific University has used traditional techniques to create a refrigerator, labelled the Kuno, that doesn’t use electricity.

The Kuno has recently won a national Dyson Award for its design, which makes use of clay and features a double-walled construction around an inner chamber. Sand is poured into the space between the walls and is then soaked in water. The evaporation of water through the porous clay draws heat from an inner chamber, cooling the food stored there.

As an added feature, the top of the Kano provides room for soil, allowing users to plant herbs or other edible plants. When users water the plants in the top, the water flows into the sand, automatically cooling the inner chamber. The design allows people to grow their own food while helping to keep food fresh for longer. 

According to Kuan Weiking, one of the inventors of Kuno, “As a product designer, it is important that we look to design solutions that tackle societal challenges or problems — solutions that are both practical and widely accessible. We are grateful to have been given this opportunity to showcase our invention and share our mission to make a positive impact to the environment and local communities.”

While the Kano is designed to keep food cool without using any electricity, we have covered other recent innovations that focus on reducing the electricity used for refrigeration. Some of these include solar-powered refrigerators and the use of twisted fibres to increase the energy efficiency of refrigeration.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Food & Drink Innovations | Sustainability Innovations



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