India's President becomes first customer for new solar-powered, ozone-friendly vaccine refrigerator
New Delhi, 1 November 2006 -, the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has become the first to buy a new environmentally-friendly solar-powered refrigerator called SolarChill, which can be used without an electrical supply and does not harm the ozone layer. The innovative SolarChill refrigerator, designed specifically to maintain vaccines at the right temperature, will be installed today in the medical clinic of the President's official residence.
SolarChill was conceived as a vaccine cooler for remote areas of developing countries, where access to power supplies is difficult. Developed by a partnership between Greenpeace International, UNEP, UNICEF and a number of technology companies, it is powered by three 60-watt photovoltaic panels, which store the energy of the sun in ice instead of in batteries and uses climate-safe and ozone-safe hydrocarbons in place of traditional refrigerants.
Once SolarChill technology receives WHO approval, it will be placed in the public domain and made freely available to any company in the world, and is already being adapted for use in food refrigerators suitable for households and small businesses.
"SolarChill is a perfect example of technological innovation and environmental stewardship in harmony", said Wolfgang Lohbeck of Greenpeace, "SolarChill not only brings environmental benefits, but potentially huge health benefits, especially to the 2.5 billion people in the world that live in areas with unreliable electricity, or none at all. This simple, cost-effective technology provides new hope that these people can more easily have access to refrigeration, especially for life-saving vaccinations." he concluded.
The announcement comes as India hosts the annual international meeting of the parties who signed the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer, being held at the Vigyan Bhavan Conference Centre in New Delhi from 30 October to 3 November.
The SolarChill programme is being co-ordinated by Greenpeace International and the technology developed by a partnership of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Danish Technological Institute (DTI), GTZ Proklima, and Programs for Appropriate Technologies in Health (PATH). The refrigeration companies Vestfrost and Danfoss participated in SolarChill's development phase.