The sun as cooling agent: Solar refrigerator for medicine to manage without socket Osnabrück

Medicine is a "sensitive plant": it dislikes high temperatures. Vaccines are similarly sensitive. Both is difficult on longer transports in developing countries where electricity is not constantly available. Now the company va-Q-tec from Würzburg takes a first step towards solving the problem: developing a vacuum-insulated refrigerator for medicine using solar energy as cooling agent -supported by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt DBU and in co-operation with the Baden-Württemberg company Phocos. Objective: A solar cooler that meets the demands of the World Health Organisation (WHO). "The safe transport of medicine is vital. This project goes a step further and combines health- and environmental protection", says DBU Secretary General Dr. Fritz Brickwedde. The DBU promotes the project with 50.000 Euro.

Basis of the new refrigerator is a very efficient insulation developed by va-Q-tec and working by means of a vacuum. "We use fine-porous quartz powder which is pressed to plates and then wrapped with an aluminium foil," says the physicist Dr. Joachim Kuhn from va-Q-tec. "Finally all air is sucked out." The result: an ideal insulation. Now, the fiddlers from va-O-tec and Phocos want to construct a cooler using that excellent insulation which can be supplied by solar energy.