The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras has developed a portable solar-powered cold storage device with a 500 kg capacity for storing vegetables, and fruits, among other items.
The device will help farmers store their produce for sufficient time so that it does not get spoilt before it is sold, thereby preventing wastage of agricultural produce. The first unit of the device, which provides a storage facility with temperature ranging between four and 10-degree Celsius, was deployed at a farm in Madurantakam in Kancheepuram district, around 80 km from Chennai, recently.
“Vegetables, leaves, flowers and fruits can be stored for 24 hours in the device. Each device would be enough for 5 or 6 acres of land or for a group of three to four farmers,” professor Satyanarayanan Seshadri, who developed the system, told PTI.
Each unit would cost between Rs 5.5 to Rs 6 lakh and storage capacity could be scaled down based on requirement. “The unit uses thermal energy storage… The photovoltaic-powered refrigeration system is used to charge the indoor thermal battery in the form of latent heat during day time and used to maintain temperature (10 C) for 20-24 hours,” Seshadri said.
The project has been funded by the Department of Science and Technology (Ministry of Science and Technology) and IIT-M.
“We are trying to look at online retailers who can deploy these devices in their aggregation centres,” he said.
A startup called Tan90, initiated by IIT-M students aims to commercialise the technology and take it to individual farmers with even smaller devices at affordable prices.
Three years ago, students of IIT-Kharagpur developed a similar system which works at almost zero running cost.