The project is a fresh foods preservation system that uses two clay pots. This system requires no electricity supply to preserve and prolong the storage life of perishable fresh food items.

Problem Addressed

For people who live in hot climates with little electricity, food spoils quickly. Produce spoils in within three days without refrigeration, forcing farmers to rush their crops to the market and sell them at undervalued prices. This has a lot of consequences to the farmers, and their families, because it affects their village life and leads a decrease in income in the poor rural areas. For Kano City, which is around 60 miles from many farmers, the fresh produce that is grown rots along the way, causing its farmers to earn smaller profits and provide for fewer people.

Refrigeration is a method for storing foods around the world, but places in Africa like Kano City do not have the resources to support a stable supply of electricity to make refrigerators a viable option.

Technology Solution

Mohammed Bah Abba designed an elegantly simple food storage device that is made up of two earthenware pots which utilize the principles of evaporation to create electric-free refrigeration. In between the two pots is a layer of fine, wet, river sand, and on top is a moist jute bag. When kept in a dry, well-ventilated, and shady location, water evaporates, cooling the inner container. As a result, Mohammed’s desert refrigerator allows produce to stay fresh for weeks, so less food is wasted, and farmers are able to increase their profits so that they can continue to provide for their communities. Mohammed sells around 30,000 coolers a year to farmers and other people who want to preserve food for their families and communities.

About The Tech Museum of Innovation

The Tech Museum is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The museum—located in the Capital of Silicon Valley —is a non-profit, experiential learning resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing applied technologies affecting their lives. Through programs such as The Tech Challenge presented by Cisco, our annual team-design competition for youth, and internationally renowned programs such as The Tech Awards presented by Applied Materials, The Tech Museum endeavors to inspire the innovator in everyone.

Source | Thetechawards


  1. I live up on a mountain near a sub-tropical rainforest and there are always outages, mainly as a result of storms and car crashes. This seems like a useful apparatus

  2. The guy speaks good English. There was absolutely no problem, understanding him. I live in that part of rural India, where there is – always electricity problem. Small farmers can’t afford to keep their agriculture produce in cold storage – they are meant only for rich farmers. This is great Idea. I will try it out – if some one extends – financial support…to start with. Thanks a lot for this video. NGO’s, Govt.’s facing electricity problems; should encourage such projects.

  3. I had no problem understanding the guy. Great idea i will try it out. I live in a subtropical climate and power outages are the norm specially during hurricanes. Thank you so much for this video.

  4. This video is useless as I can’t understand much of what this guy says. You should at least have subtitles. Of what use is a good idea if it is not communicated well?

    • …just go to YouTube and search for “Refrigeration Without Electricity”, you’ll find tons of videos…

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