SunChill: Solar Cooling for Horticultural Preservation

Innovator (Country of Incorporation): 
United States
Collaborators: 
Colorado State University (United States)
TechnoServe (United States)
Mozambique Organicos (Mozambique)
Location Applied: 
Innovation Stage: 
Clean Energy Source: 
Agricultural Focus: 
Product Segment: 
Year of Award: 
Financing Status: 
Organization: 

Rebound Technologies develops tailored refrigeration technologies designed to meet global energy market dynamics while reducing fossil fuel dependence. To successfully design, build and deploy SunChill™ technology, Rebound will leverage critical partnerships. The Energy Institute’s (Colorado State University) product development experience will support R&D, TechnoServe’s business solutions focus will drive host nation outreach/support, and Mozambique Organicos research farm will provide the primary venue for SunChill™ deployment and in-field testing.

Problem/Opportunity: 

Post-harvest, physiological obstacles such as ethane production, respiration and microbial attack make getting high quality horticultural products to market a significant challenge. Removing field heat from these products can double shelf life and reduce spoilage rates that often exceed 40 percent in developing countries. Unfortunately, current off-grid cooling technologies are expensive, energy intensive, and difficult to maintain.

Clean Energy Solution: 

SunChill™ is a novel, off-grid refrigeration solution enabling increased agricultural productivity by: (i) removing field heat from crops immediately following harvest, and (ii) providing continued product cooling at local markets and/or central processing facilities. This clean energy solution transforms 50°C solar thermal energy into 10°C refrigeration using solid refrigerants and local, non-precision components. These characteristics enable production of a low cost, low-maintenance technology that reduces spoilage and benefits smallholder farmer livelihoods.

Impact: 

SunChill™ is one of the first developing world technologies that reliably removes field heat without a high-cost electrical supply. The low- cost system enables increased horticultural production both for domestic and export consumption, generating additional income for smallholder farmers and increased access to nutritional fruits and vegetables while generating both manufacturing and service based employment. Rebound has utilized some of the data and lessons learned from field testing SunChill™ have been incorporated into its latest IcePoint™ technology for the US market.

Progress Update: 

Rebound completed the Powering Agriculture project in March 2016 by validating a SunChillTM field demonstration unit in Mozambique which cooled 43 kg of tomatoes during the pilot. The total project effort resulted in the completion of the engineering work that forms the technology foundation. Remaining is the industrial design work necessary to move SunChillTM to a commercialized product available for deployment. Rebound plans to Open Source all SunChillTM engineering documents by the end of 2016, opening the doors for students and entrepreneurs to leverage Rebound’s learnings and transition them into a successful, marketable product.

Project News: 
Jul. 21, 2017

Rebound Technologies' IcePoint™ is the first major innovation in refrigeration in 100 years. Its use will address an enormous problem: the 1.3 billion tons of food that is lost or wasted yearly. It allows users to freeze more food in less time, all while using up to 40% less energy.

Nov. 29, 2016

Congratulations to Rebound Technologies on their recently announced 2017 project with Lineage Logistics, the second largest cold storage company in the US. The project will focus on economically optimizing IcePoint™ for industrial use and pave the way for future cold storage warehouse deployments.

Nov. 29, 2016

Here's another milestone for Rebound Technologies: Southern California Edison's Thermal Test Center has begun third party validation testing of an IcePoint™ demonstration unit! This testing allows Rebound the opportunity to evaluate IcePoint™ cooling performance in various climate conditions.