Vaccine fridge uses phase change material for ten days of unpowered cooling

Vaccine fridges using phase change material can keep vaccines cool for ten days without power.

Originally developed to help store vaccines in developing countries, the low-power cooler is partly the result of good insulation. But it also incorporates a phase-change material to regulate the temperature, says Ian Tansley, chief technical director of the firm behind the fridge – True Energy, based in Tywyn, Gwynedd, UK.

True energy page on global vaccine refrigerators.

The True Energy Vaccine Refrigerator contains Sure Chill™ technology, which uses solar energy, mains grid power or a combination of the two to access electricity when it is cheapest and most readily available. It has an innovative phase change material, which enables constant, cool temperatures and the storage of energy until it’s needed.

Once charged, the refrigerator maintains constant cooling below 10˚ C without any power at all. This power-free cooling phase has been shown to last over 10 days at an ambient temperature of 43˚C – and even longer at lower temperatures.

It also uses an intelligent monitoring system to keep temperatures stable. If it senses any very warm or cold objects, its unique technology reacts immediately to extract heat and stabilise cooling.

Vaccine fridges typically use batteries to store power for use during outages, or an energy storage medium, such as ice, to cope with intermittent power. But batteries tend to have limited life-spans and ice will behave differently depending on the ambient temperature – either providing too much or too little cooling,

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