Bangladesh wins bronze in Efficiency for Access Design Challenge 2020-2021
Md Sadik Abdal, an undergraduate student from Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Independent University, Bangladesh, recently led his team to the bronze prize (third place) at this year's Efficiency for Access (EforA) Design Challenge 2020-2021. This challenge is a global, multi-disciplinary competition that empowers teams of university students to help accelerate clean energy access and provide sustainable energy for all by helping to enhance the efficiency and affordability of high-performing appliances. Engineers Without Borders UK is the chief event partner of the competition. It is funded by UK aid and the IKEA Foundation. The Efficiency for Access Coalition is coordinated jointly by CLASP and UK's Energy Saving Trust.
This year's competition started in September and ended in June, with finalists hailing from Durham University, Loughborough University, Makerere University, Strathmore University, Swansea University, University of Bath, UCL, University of Strathclyde, and Independent University, Bangladesh. UCL from the UK secured both the Gold and Silver prizes.
Sadik and his team's project, titled "Solar Direct Drive Vaccine Refrigerator and Effective Cold Chain System", aims to work in the off-grid healthcare sector in making immunisation available in marginalised areas and helping frontline workers combat Covid-19 vaccine storage in regions with unreliable electricity.
"The idea came to me while I was on a fishing trip at my grandparents' farm, where the local farmer was complaining about the lack of inexpensive cold storage facilities for local people who cultivate vegetables," shares Sadik. "I decided to merge the two problems into one solution and teamed up with two other friends from the department, Nafiul Alam and Toufiqul Islam Bilash, and we immediately started looking for funding for SDD vaccine fridge prototype."
Sadik further added, "Thankfully, once our project was approved by the competition, we were promised initial funding by IKEA Foundation and UKAid to help us start working on our design prototype and conduct our surveys in the Rohingya camps".
The team is currently working from home to add the final touches to the control system for the refrigeration system, while complying with the Covid-19 protocols. They are working on the second phase of prototyping and are looking for collaborators to help with the Cold Chain System. They are also keen on finding further funding for future studies into product development and market research.
Their design converts solar power into ice banks that help keep vaccines at an optimum temperature throughout the night and on cloudy days," stated one EforA Challenge Representative. "The design also uses solar direct drive technology, which removes the need for traditional batteries. Increasing the availability of vaccines in remote and off-grid locations could help save more lives in rural areas, and safeguard economies".
By bringing together and inspiring students, the EforA Design Challenge aims to foster innovation in the off-grid appliances sector.
The panel of judges this year included Robert MacIver, Infrastructure Adviser at Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, Jeffrey Prins, Head of Renewable Energy Portfolio, IKEA Foundation, and Jordan Broadbent, Business Manager, Shell Foundation.