The invention seeks to provide an alternative to fridges in rural areas where access to electricity is scarce.
How does it work?
FREEDGE is a refrigerating system that does not need electricity. It is based on the principle of evaporative cooling.
The phenomenon occurs when thermal energy in the air converts liquid water into vapor, leading to cooler temperatures.
To make use of this principle, FREEDGE includes an outer and inner chamber, separated by a wet tissue. The vapor from the wet tissue maintains a low temperature in the internal chamber of the system, preserving food products inside.
To keep the tissue wet at all times, FREEDGE includes a water tank to replace the evaporated water.
Thanks to this simple but effective system, FREEDGE can help preserve food products in areas without electricity, as long as there is access to water and sunlight.
The sustainable fridge is made of meticulously selected materials that optimize its efficiency and accelerate the evaporative cooling process.
Who is behind the invention?
FREEDGE is the idea of a group of Moroccan students from the Enactus EMI club—a student community that seeks to promote social development through entrepreneurship.
The team working on the project currently includes 11 members: A business manager, a growth manager, four growth associates, two operation managers, and three operation associates.
All the team members are in their first or second year at EMI and come from various majors including computer engineering, mineral engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, and civil engineering.
Why invent a fridge?
The students decided to work on the FREEDGE project after reading about the lack of tools to preserve food products in Morocco and in Africa, especially in rural areas.
“In fact, in Africa, approximately 45% of crops rot even before they can reach consumers, mainly due to the lack of fridges and high temperatures,” said Wissal Akki, one growth associate from FREEDGE.
“Although having access to a refrigerating system is a given for a majority of people, our research has revealed some alarming numbers,” she told Morocco World News.
According to the students’ research, approximately 600,000 Moroccans do not have access to electricity, and an even larger number do not have a fridge.
Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) shared more alarming figures in a 2018 report, stating that 2.7% of citizens do not have access to electricity. The number roughly translates to 970,000 Moroccans.
“We decided to work on the simple and efficient technique of evaporative cooling, and we added our engineering touch to make an easy-to-use product that can guarantee optimal refrigeration while respecting the environment,” Akki said.
What is next?
After optimizing their invention, the FREEDGE team is now fully focused on marketing and promoting the product. The students have sold 237 units to date.
“We are actively looking for partners that would help us expand across Morocco at first, and then expand in neighboring countries in Africa,” Akki explained.
To reach their goals, the students are contacting several local NGOs from remote villages and regions across Morocco. The NGOs would serve as intermediaries between the students and the villagers who will benefit from the fridges.