Affordable, Solar-Powered Cold Storage

ColdHubs is a modular, solar-powered walk-in cold room, where farmers can buy storage through a pay-as-you-go system to preserve their perishable foods.

ColdHubs installs cold rooms in food markets and at farms, allowing farmersto keep their produce fresh by stacking it in clean crates inside the rooms. The rooms are solar powered and big enough to walk inside, while insulating panels retain the cold. The cold rooms are equipped with rooftop solar panels,
generating electricity that is stored in high-capacity batteries to power the refrigerating unit.

Farmers using ColdHubs are offered a flexible pay-as-you-store subscription model. In preparation for storage, farmers transfer their perishable foods into crates, paying a daily $0.50 fee for each crate stored. So far, 10 cold rooms are in operation, with 50 more to be deployed in 2016.

Relevance of solution

In developing countries, approximately 40% of total food production is lost before it reaches the market, hitting small farmers without access to proper storage the hardest.1 By providing affordable, off-grid, solar-powered cold storage in walk-in stations, ColdHubs reduces food waste and enables small farmers to raise their income by selling a bigger proportion of their crops.

Triple Bottom Line

Environmental

ColdHubs extends the shelf-life of perishable food from 2 to 21 days, potentially reducing post-harvest loss by 80%, according to the company.

Social

By hiring mainly women to manage the operations of a station and collection of revenue, ColdHubs facilitates economic opportunities for women.

Economic

By cutting food loss, smallholder farmers have more harvest to sell, enabling them to increase their annual income by 25%, according to ColdHubs


Sources

  1. FAO. “Seeking End to Loss and Waste of Food along Production Chain.” (2011)