Refrigeration Without Electricity – How to Build One

The project is a fresh foods preservation system that uses two clay pots. This system requires no electricity supply to preserve and prolong the storage life of perishable fresh food items.

Problem Addressed – Food Spoils Quickly

For people who live in hot climates with little or no electricity, or for those who decided to live outside the grid. Recommended for preppers as well.

Refrigeration is a method for storing foods around the world, but places in Africa, like Kano City, do not have the resources to support a stable supply of electricity to make refrigerators a viable option.

The Zeer Electricity-Free Refrigerator

Technology Solution

Mohammed Bah Abba designed an elegantly simple food storage device that is made up of two earthenware pots which utilize the principles of evaporation to create electric-free refrigeration. In between the two pots is a layer of fine, wet, river sand, and on top is a moist jute bag.

When kept in a dry, well-ventilated, and shady location, water evaporates, cooling the inner container. As a result, Mohammed’s desert refrigerator allows produce to stay fresh for weeks, so less food is wasted, and farmers are able to increase their profits so that they can continue to provide for their communities.


Build One Yourself – Easy How To

The Zeer pot-in-pot refrigerator only requires water, sand, and a hot, dry climate to preserve produce through evaporative cooling. Here’s how to make the simple gadget.

Materials and Tools Required

– two terra cotta pots with a 2-3 inch difference in diameter. The smaller pot should be glazed and preferably lacking a drainage hole. If the inner container is double glazed (on its inner and outer walls), non-potable water—say seawater—can be employed.
– a bag of sterile sand;
– a square of burlap cloth large enough to cover the top of the inner pot;
– a trowel;

Building It

1. If your pots have drainage holes, plug them with a bit of cork, caulk, or other waterproof material. If you don’t, moisture from the sand will seep into the lower pot and immerse the stored goods or seep out the bottom of the larger one.

2. Put down a one-inch deep, level layer of sand in the bottom of the large pot. Set the smaller pot on top of that layer and center it in the larger one. Make sure that the smaller pot’s lip is even with the larger one’s.

3. Fill sand in around the sides of the of the two pots, leaving about an inch of space below the lip.

4. Pour cold water over the sand until it is thoroughly saturated. Put your food into the smaller pot. Cover that with a burlap cloth, also soaked with water. That’s it! Just be sure to refill the water regularly, about once or twice a day.

Sources: Thetechawards, CSglobe, and Andrew Tarantola – Gizmodo; | HumansAreFree.com;

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