Zero-energy cooler keeps fruits and vegetables fresh

The Fenik zero-energy cooler uses evaporative cooling and high-tech fabric to keep fruits and vegetables cool without electricity. A Boston company has updated a traditional cooler design with modern materials to improve food storage in communities with no electricity. The Fenik zero-electricity cooler is based on the zeer pot: a low-tech cooler that uses evaporative cooling to keep food fresh.

"Most cultures have a version of this that uses evaporative cooling," said Quang Truong, CEO and co-founder of the company. This zeer pot uses two clay pots, sand, and water to create a mini-refrigerator. One pot is nested inside the other and sand fills the gap between the two. The user adds water to the sand. As the water evaporates, it draws heat from the inner pot—cooling the food in it. As long as there is water in the sand, the cooling effect continues. 

Fenik has taken the basic design elements of the zeer pot and modernized the components. The Fenik is a rectangular box with a lid and collapsible sides made of PhaseTek. The fabric is divided into vertical chambers which are filled with water. The fabric allows the water to evaporate. A user fills the vertical chambers with water to start the cooling process. Fenik invented the material, which is similar to the fabric used in a breathable rain jacket.

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