Solar Fridge Inventor Honored by Nobel Prize Winners

by , 10/28/10

solar refridgerator, emily cummins, Oslo Business for Peace Honouree, pot-in-pot refrigerator, solar powered refridgerator, renewable energy refridgerator

23 year old Emily Cummins has become the first female, and only European, to be awarded an Oslo Business for Peace Honouree by a jury of Nobel prize winners recently in Norway. Cummins was chosen as one of ten “outstanding young people” in the world at the event, receiving two major honors for her inventions which include a solar-powered fridge and a water carrying device designed for use in Africa.

Like Barnes Wallis, the inventor of ‘the bouncing bomb’, Cummins developed her product in a garden shed while she was still completing her studies. Designed to use a combination of both conduction and convection, the refrigerator requires no electricity and can be easily sourced from materials such as cardboard and recycled metal. To use the fridge, you simply place perishables in the solar refrigerator’s interior metal chamber and seal it. Organic material, such as sand or soil, is then placed in-between the inner and outer chamber and then saturated with water. As the sun warms the organic material, the water evaporates, reducing the temperature of the inner chamber to a chilled  6 ºC [43 ºF] – an effect similar to how your skin gets cooler as sweat evaporates.

solar refridgerator, emily cummins, Oslo Business for Peace Honouree, pot-in-pot refrigerator, solar powered refridgerator, renewable energy refridgerator

The fridge is already being used in various African countries like Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe to help locals keep their food for longer without using any electricity or gas.

“Recognition for my work in Norway and Japan is a great honour. I’m passionate about encouraging young people to reach their creative potential, especially in the field of sustainable design,” Emily said. “Hopefully these awards will inspire other young people to think about how they can contribute to our global community in a positive way.”

Although Emily didn’t invent the evaporative cooling fridge (the idea was previously developed by Mohammed Bah Abba in his pot-in-pot refrigerator), she is being honored for her innovation and engineering talents.  Previously she has been awarded £5,000 from York Merchant Adventurers for her idea, before going to Africa for her Gap Year where she put her product into circulation.  She made six versions during the initial phase of production and helped make more than 50 during a trip where locals in Namibia nicknamed her “The Fridge Lady“.

“I do talks in school now and tell people to follow their dreams. I was never very good academically at school yet I know what I loved and always stuck to that,” Emily told the Daily Mail. “It’s such a shame that qualifications can stifle dreams. You have to think about what you love and pursue it anyway.”

+ Emily Cummins

Via Daily Mail

Related Posts


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Charles Neslon July 30, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    It is really cool that she was able to get some recognition for this invention. I can see the Chinese moving toward solar powered fridges pretty quickly. Since 2011, they have really had to rush into being able to refrigerate their food and they don’t exactly have the most efficient appliances right now. I would really like to try something like this for my own home sometime.

  2. Bicycle Bob November 2, 2010 at 3:06 am

    I’ll bet dollars to donuts that this works best in the shade, with a slight breeze. It is not a Solar device, it is an evaporative cooler, requiring dry, cool air for best performance.

  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home