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.

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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