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Electricity-free fridge inspired by nature

Engineering students build a cooling system for people without access to electricity, using the different methods animals use to keep cool

Quelle:: University of Calgary

From left: Engineering students Jorge Zapote, Mitchell Weber, Michelle Zhou, and Xi Cheng with the WindChill refrigeration system
From left: Engineering students Jorge Zapote, Mitchell Weber, Michelle Zhou, and Xi Cheng with the WindChill refrigeration system

A food preserving system, which does not require electricity, was created by four students from the University of Calgary Schulich School of Engineering. They examined the different strategies animals use to regulate their body temperature and cool themselves, and mimicked them.

Two of the engineering students working on the electricity-free cooling device
Two of the engineering students working on the electricity-free cooling device
University of Calgary Schulich School of Engineering

The students' device, known as the WindChill, operates with a funnel that draws outside air into a pipe, which is immersed in a fluid. The fluid evaporates, cooling the air, which is then sent to an underground refrigeration chamber.

Students from the University of Calgary showing how their device works
Students from the University of Calgary showing how their device works
University of Calgary Schulich School of Engineering

Every phase of the cooling mechanism mimics a cooling strategy used by animals: the first step was inspired by termites and corals; the second one by elephants, which wet their ears and let the water evaporate to cool their skin; and the final step came from burrowing animals.

An elephant wetting his ears to cool down
An elephant wetting his ears to cool down

This nature-inspired refrigeration system is environmentally friendly and cheap to produce, making it a perfect solution for people living in poor and remote locations that do not have access to electricity. 

The WindChill cooling system can be a great tool for people living in remote areas without access to electricity
The WindChill cooling system can be a great tool for people living in remote areas without access to electricity

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