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Italian brilliant minds creating the first low cost and sustainable fridge

It’s name is Spark and it is perfect for Africa

Italian brilliant minds creating the first low cost and sustainable fridge

Claudia Astarita

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Spark is the acronym for "Solar Photovoltaic Adaptable Refrigeration Kit" and it was recently implemented in Bangang, a small village in Cameron. The idea is nothing but brilliant: a fridge alimented by solar energy and made up by bamboo, a great insulation material resistant to bad weather.

Professor Claudio Del Pero, from the Politecnico in Milan, is the person in charge for the project. He stressed how Spark represents a turning point in rural populations' life. In fact, they will have the chance "to build a fridge from themselves, using local materials". The project was financed by "Polisocial Award", a competition created with Irpef funds aimed at supporting project having a high social impact.

Given the dropped price of photovoltaic materials and the availability of local resources needed to build it, Spark is a useful but also accessible tool to keep foods even in remote and rural areas. In its basic version, Spark has a capability of 250 litres but it also comes in its "community version" with a capability of 1000 litres. The most interesting asset of this "community version" is that the user who cannot afford a personal Spark can share it with others, significantly decreasing the cost.

Another noteworthy advantage of Spark concerns its flexibility. In fact, it does not come in a unique block: while some parts are unchanging, some other components can be retrieved in loco. This flexibility allows low shipping rates. The innovative refrigerator comes in a kit to be assembled locally. Users are provided with the required guidelines to assemble it but also with some useful tips and instructions for its maintenance.

Last but not least, Spark is an Italian idea came out brilliant minds of university professors of the Politecnico in Milan. In particular, besides Claudio Del Pero, Luigi Piegar, Maddalena Buffoli and Maria Pilar Vettori have all worked to the project , which was also supported by the NGO Acrest (African Centre for Renewable Energies and Sustainable Technologies) based in Camerun.

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