Problem: Inadequate and expensive cold-chain infrastructure in Morocco leads to a 30-35% loss of fruit and vegetable crops, depleting income and perpetuating poverty for 75% of rural poor farmers.
Solution: An innovative refrigeration solution that does not rely on traditional compression technology that requires electricity.
Goals and objectives: To provide low-cost electricity-free mobile refrigeration units.
Implementation: Despite annual production of 6,200,000 metric tons of produce, Morocco has a total refrigeration capacity of only 227,000 tons, of which 27,000 is dedicated to crops. The absence of adequate cold storage capacity significantly impacts horticultural exports - the second largest export segment, representing 15% of gross national product.
Fenik was conceived as a class project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the primary objective of enhancing the accessibility and affordability of refrigeration to positively impact the environment and economic wellbeing of vulnerable rural families in the global South.
Fenik’s refrigerators use an evaporative cooling system, rather than the more energy-intensive vapor compression refrigeration, allowing for less expensive, electricity-free cooling. These basic evaporative cooling devices have proven to be effective for agricultural use, tripling or quadrupling the shelf-life of most farm produce.
By bringing to bear state-of-the art materials and improved design, Fenik has created more effective, durable, easier to use, mass-producible units. Fenik's Yuma 60L Cooler introduces a revolutionary product to the world of refrigeration. The Yuma 60L is a light weight, easy-to-carry, fully portable system that can keep perishables like fruits, vegetables and dairy products fresh in the hot summer months. The Yuma 60L requires no electricity to operate and is 100% eco-friendly with absolutely no greenhouse gas emissions.
Fenik has also developed the PhaseTek™ technology to power the Yuma. This material mimics the way animals naturally cool themselves and becomes activated when a user fills the internal reservoir with any clean source of water (e.g. tap, well, river, lake). The walls of the device then begin to draw out heat from the interior of the device, cooling the internal storage space by 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit from ambient conditions. PhaseTek™ is built into a bladder structure allowing the system to hold and transport water to the evaporative surface where the cooling effect is generated through the latent heat of vaporization.
Features of Fenik’s products include: high-density expanded polystyrene frame; aluminum sheets; specialized synthetic cloth with highly wicking properties and donut-shaped water tank.
The ultimate aim is to sell Fenik’s technology units in bulk to institutional buyers such as government development projects, NGOs, agricultural cooperatives and refugee camps, as well as rural, low-income consumers in Morocco.
Achievements: Fenik’s technologies have been recognized and supported by organizations and foundations including USAID, National Geographic and The Siemens-Stiftung Foundation.
Budget: Production costs have been set at 15 USD with a sales price of 30 USD.
Contact details: Spencer Taylor