The Off-Grid Cold Chain Challenge aims to identify and promote the world’s best and most energy-efficient off-grid cold chain technology.
Yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya, Ideas to Impact, which is funded by UK Aid, launched the Off-Grid Cold Chain Challenge (OGCCC), a competition to develop innovative and energy-efficient off-grid cold storage technology. The OGCCC will offer £250,000 in prizes for off-grid cold chain technologies deployed in select Sub-Saharan African countries.
Cold storage facilities are a crucial link in the chain from farmer to table, and ensure that food products such as fruit, vegetables and dairy products stay fresh with minimal waste. In developing countries, extensive and reliable cold storage is often out of reach for the most vulnerable links in the chain– smallholder farmers and small traders – due to cost and a lack of access to reliable electricity.
Innovation prizes will be awarded to cold storage technologies that demonstrate energy efficiency, off-grid appropriateness, scalability and commercial feasibility of deployment. The goal of the competition is to stimulate innovation and investment in the sector and help to drive market development, bringing prices down for those who need it most.
'Lack of proper temperature management and cold storage causes farmers in off-grid areas to suffer significant post-harvest food loss, leading to reduced profits and increased vulnerability', says Simon Collings, Ideas to Impact Energy Access Technical Lead, from Energy 4 Impact. 'A commercially sustainable cold chain would allow farmers to diversify production to include high-value perishable crops, link them to regional and international markets, and increase earnings. In addition, cold chain facilities would create opportunities for labour, services, and value-added processing for perishable products.'
Establishing extensive and reliable cold chains in developing countries, where food losses for farmers during post-harvest and processing can be as high as 40%, would enable them to raise food supply by 15% – about 250 million tonnes.