The Fridge the Vaccines Have Been Waiting For

the SureChill fridge, a solar-powered device that in some models can last for up to two weeks without electricity, even in sweltering external temperatures up to 43C. During the day solar power is used to freeze a stock of water inside the refrigerator, which then maintains the cool, steady interior temperature overnight. Today, SureChill is one of the world’s largest producers of these fridges, known as “solar direct drives” (SDD). The concept has been adopted widely — there are around 20 models using similar technology that are on the World Health Organization’s list of devices approved for use in the vaccine cold chain. They are now being deployed in over 50 countries. Tansley’s research all those years ago helped spawn a new generation of solar fridges that is revolutionizing the fight against Covid-19 and other treatable diseases around the world. The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at approximately minus-100 degrees Fahrenheit — a huge challenge for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South America and beyond, where heat and humidity are abundant but, particularly in remote regions, electricity often isn’t. UNICEF and GAVI, the vaccine alliance, have as a result been pushing to

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