Faced with potential power outages across the country this week, many powerless people will be shuttling the contents of their refrigerators outside to keep things chilled. But what happens if you’re in warm weather and are the victim of an extended power outage, and even worse, what if instead of milk and leftovers in your fridge, you have a large supply of lifesaving vaccines?
In many third world countries, where power failures and warm weather are common, some aid agencies are using the True Energy Vaccine Refrigerator. It can maintain temperatures of below 50F, without power, in ambient temperatures up to 109F for over ten days at a time.
According to a post on Gizmag, the refrigerator runs off mains power, solar power, or a combination of sources. It incorporates True Energy’s Sure Chill technology, which utilizes high-density polyurethane foam insulation and an undisclosed “innovative phase change material” to store energy until it’s needed, allowing for consistently cool temperatures regardless of interruptions in the power supply. It can run indefinitely on less than five hours of mains power per day. Once fully charged, as already mentioned, the phase change material can keep the fridge going for ten days without any power input at all. As a side benefit, this non-battery power-storing capability is also said to make it twice as energy-efficient as similar products.
True Energy Vaccine Refrigerators are currently in use by agencies such as the World Health Organization and Unicef. The company is also looking into using its Sure Chill technology in products such as commercial refrigerators, drinks coolers, air conditioners and telecommunications infrastructure cooling.