To receive funding, You and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 9 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a creative idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas that included agriculture development, immunization and communications.
Zeer technology has been used for thousands of years to keep produce and items that need refrigeration cool in places where electricity is non-existent.
"Think of it as a fridge for your picnic," Moon said.
Typically, two clay pots are used in the zeer process. Holes in the bottom of the pots are plugged, and sand is placed in the larger clay pot as a base. The smaller clay pot is then placed inside the larger one, and sand is placed as a layer between the pots. Then water is poured in that sand. The evaporation process causes the smaller pot to cool.
The traditional zeer process has several limitations, You said. The water added to the sand causes the pots to be very heavy. Water must be added continually to keep contents in the smaller pot cool. And the process only works well in arid, hot conditions.
You's technology would use lightweight aluminum materials rather than clay and sand. Nanostructures would be networked on the inside of the outer aluminum container. Those nanostructures would move the water around, causing vaporization and cooling the inside container.
Moon, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, said the inside container of their system can chill to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius), cool enough to ensure that vaccines and medicines are preserved and can arrive safely at the far-flung reaches of the world.
Engineering Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet said the team's work holds global promise.
"It could be a game-changer," Ba
|Contact: Herb Booth|
University of Texas at Arlington