Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, a Nigerian farmer and MBA holder, social entrepreneur and radio presenter grew frustrated with mounting losses of small shareholder farmers. His project called ColdHubs addresses the cold storage needs of farmers by combining the well-established technologies of photovoltaic energy supply and compressive cold generation with a novel concept of pay-as-you-need storage. It was developed to help the 470 million farmers and retailers in developing countries who do not have access to reliable cold storage loses up to 45% of their crops.
ColdHubs, are modular, solar-powered walk-in cold rooms that provides 24/7 off-grid storage and preservation for fresh fruits and vegetables. They are installed in markets and farms within the reach of farmers and retailers.
Cold room temperature of 5°C extends the freshness of fruits, vegetables and other perishable food to about 21 days instead of 2 days without refrigeration.
Functional prototype is made of 120mm insulating cold room panels. Energy from solar panels mounted on the roof are stored in high capacity batteries and back-ups to power 900 watts mono-block refrigerating unit, with daily cooling temperature is 5° Celsius. Each cold-room can contain 2 tons of food.
Hubs are placed in market areas and farms which has a cluster of farmers. Local personnel, generally women, are hired to provide crates rental services. 30 kg plastic crates are rented to farmers, for a fee of US$.50/day (Naira 110) storage in the cold room.