Science

23-Year-Old's Solar-Powered Fridge Earns Prestigious Award

23-year-old Emily Cummins started her career as an inventor as a young girl tinkering in her grandfather’s shed. Now, thanks to a solar-powered fridge that’s already in use across Africa, Nobel winners are handing her awards.

Cummins was selected as a Oslo Business for Peace Honouree in Norway last week, a prestigious award established last year for ethical businesspeople which is overseen by a panel of Nobel prize winners. Not many people have talked to a Nobel prize winner, much less been bestowed with an award by one. Next month, in Japan, the Junior Chamber International will name her one of the 10 Outstanding Young Persons of the World for this year. And it’s all because of a clever idea she had for a refrigerator.

Cummins had the idea for the refrigerator last year when she was a student at Leeds University. A metal cylinder is placed inside a larger cylinder made of wood or cardboard. The space in-between the two is filled with a material that can be soaked in water, like soil or cloth, and as the sun heats that material and the water evaporates, it pulls the heat off the inner cylinder. Perishables can be kept at a cool 6C with no power needed whatsoever. It’s already being used in Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

“Hopefully these awards will inspire other young people to think about how they can contribute to our global community in a positive way,” said Cummins. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing about her own contributions again in the future. [DailyMail]

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