Ecozen's Micro Cold Storage

Ecozen Solutions is a start up of IIT Kharagpur graduates focused at providing energy and environment solutions to businesses in India. It was started in Sep ‘09 with a motive to create awareness against poor energy management practices, to drive sustainability in the burgeoning Indian market, and elevate the Indian industry to the standards and expectations of a developed nation in the new era.

Ecozen recently designed a pioneering and innovative micro-cold storage product that is powered by solar energy. In India alone, 10 million tons of cold storage capacity is required to prevent the over 30% wastage of perishable produce. The current facilities are accessible only to the big farmers/middlemen who hoard when supplies peak, leading to huge price fluctuations. The bottom of the pyramid (BOP) i.e. the small farmer loses out, as they have to sell their produce at very low prices right after harvest.

The product primarily designed for the rural segment serves their needs ideally, as it does not depend on grid electricity and after a 2-year breakeven, leads to over 40% increase in their profits. This innovative product can be suitably adapted for local conditions across the world.

“The farmer has to take this produce from his farm to the mandi, that’s the market,” Ecozen cofounder Devendra Gupta said from India, via Skype. “So crops that are sensitive to temperature, they need to be transported in a refrigerated transport. That is very costly. If the farmer has a refrigerated transport of his own, he can save a lot of those costs.”

The Ecozen team developed a portable, higher efficiency cold storage unit with photovoltaic panels that could be fitted onto a vehicle the size of a U-haul truck. That reduces the cooling load, unlike building-sized cold storage facilities. Individual farmers might not be able to invest in one, but the team envisions groups of farmers buying a micro cold storage unit as a community.

Source : Ecozen