SUMMARY: Using solar cooling & freezing technologies, Emergi developed a solution to address the challenges in Liberia's energy sector, which is polluting, unreliable and expensive. Our strategy is to provide clean, reliable and affordable energy to increase agricultural production, people's livelihood, Liberia's socioeconomic development & food security and reduce environmental deterioration.
PROBLEM SPACE: "Liberia remains one of the poorest countries in the world, facing challenges of unemployment, food insecurity and malnutrition. Access to energy in Liberia is limited, with just 4.1% of the Liberian population having access (World Bank 2015). Most farmers have no access to storage facilities resulting in 50% of waste (FAO 2010). Those who have storage, mainly use diesel generators, which can cost up to $70 daily, contributing to CO2 emissions and polution. Poverty prevails with 84% of the population living under the poverty line (IMF 2012).
Our initiative addresses these challenges by offering solar cooling and freezing as affordable, reliable, clean energy to local communities and farmers to help tackle the challenges of food security, decrease waste and increase income. As a result, farmers will be able to maximise their agricultural potential and close farm-to-market gaps, create employment and reduce poverty. Additionally, our initiative contributes to global CO2 emission reduction. CO2 in the atmosphere increased by 35% since the beginning of industrialisation and is responsible for 63% of global warming (NOAA 2015).
The solar and freezing cooling technology can be used in a wide variety of countries facing similar challenges as Liberia, thereby contributing to the sustainable development goals."
SOLUTION: "Emergi, supported by focus group interviews held in Liberia, developed two solar cooling and freezing technologies, to store food, dehumidify to prevent decay, and make ice to transport marine and agricultural products.
We developed two innovations using proven technologies. For cooling large volumes of air, evaporative cooling is highly suitable as it is cheap and reliable. For humid conditions, as found in Liberia, this can only work if the air is dried. Our system uses, Desiccant Enhanced Evaporative Air-Conditioning (DEVAP) with a liquid desiccant, which is dried using solar heat. The output is cool and dry air, both needed to store food in Liberia. For solar freezing we have developed a system and built a working prototype, that uses active carbon and methanol to produce ice after the air is dehumidified. This technology, called adsorption cooling, collects solar energy during day, and produces ice during night. See attachments for detailed explanation.
Solar cooling is a solution for Liberia's challenges because it:
+ does not rely on limited resources.
+ can be combined with nearly all kinds of backup heat sources.
+ is applicable anywhere in West Africa.
+ prices are highly predictable and the running costs negligible.
+ has an extremely low environmental impact during its life cycle.
+ creates poverty reduction by creating new jobs in renewable energies.
+ when used at social institutions like hospitals will increase the hygienic situation and cut the running costs.
+ benefits from the strong correlation between supply of the solar resource and energy demand for cooling.
Our strategy is to support local employment through local assembly and using local materials to maximize our socio-economic impact. Our business model is to offer communal warehouse facilities to local communities and small farmers, for a fee and sell the units with a loan instrument."