Nigerian start-up ColdHubs is helping farmers and market vendors become more profitable by eliminating food waste via 100 percent solar-powered walk-in cold rooms.
Founded in July 2015, by young farmer and social entrepreneur Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, ColdHubs is producing cold rooms and selling them to smallholder farmers, retailers and wholesalers to store and preserve fresh fruits, vegetables and other perishable foods, extending their shelf life from 2 to 21 days.
The start-up has had a good 2018 so far, winning funding from the MIT Solve initiative and the Microsoft Airband Grant Fund, yet its concept is relatively simple. Its “ColdHubs” are made of 120mm thick insulating cold room panels to retain cold, with energy provided by solar panels mounted on the roof.
The energy efficient monoblock refrigeration unit is connected to an inverter that enables the solar-powered batteries to supply energy for night cooling. Each ColdHub can fit approximately three tons of perishable food, arranged in at least 150 units of 20kg plastic crates stacked on the floor.
“Each ColdHub is guaranteed to provide autonomous refrigeration 24 hours a day without grid connection. The cooling temperature is adjustable from 5o to 15oC, and the cold room’s unique safety door efficiently keeps cold air inside,” Ikegwuonu told Disrupt Africa.