Tuesday, October 31
An idea that germinated on the dusty streets of Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Rajendra Shende, the head of the OzonAction Unit of the United Nations Environment Programme and the brain behind the idea, remembers clearly the moment when the idea struck him—during a bus ride in the western African nation of Burkina Faso in 2000.
"I thought that if we could develop a vaccine cooler that uses the solar energy so abundant in Burkina Faso and other developing countries, and if we develop a vaccine cooler that uses the solar energy so abundantly available there, and non-CFC (ozone-friendly), non-HFC (climate-friendly) refrigerants, it will be an environmentally perfect product," Shende told IANS in Paris.
Shende says that the president has been keenly following the progress of the project ever since he heard about it over a year ago.
"When I informed him about the project, he was very keen and requested me to keep him informed on the progress. The president could see the huge importance of SolarChill for the developing countries, particularly in saving the lives of the rural children and women who do not have access to electricity and effective vaccines," recalls Shende.
"It was found to be important to get SolarChill known to the world community. I recalled my discussions with the president in 2005 and wrote to his office. I was immediately informed that the president is not only keen to install and operate two units in the clinic of the presidential complex (around Rashtrapati Bhavan) but was very keen to buy these units and not to get them free," says Shende.
The technology has already made waves around the world, winning the prestigious 2006 Cooling Industry Awards in the category 'Environmental Pioneer' for refrigeration in London earlier this year.
The project is truly international since it involves a total of seven international organisations from all over the world. Besides the UNEP, the partners in the project include Greenpeace International, UNICEF, World Health Organisation (WHO), GTZ Proklima, Programmes for Appropriate Technologies in Health (PATH) and the Danish Technological Institute.
The SolarChill technology is publicly owned and will soon be freely available for any company in the world interested in producing the units. Once it receives WHO approval, the partners will work with interested refrigerator manufacturers, ministries of health and environment, foundations and others to have it commercialised and deployed across the globe.
WOW, appy to see that India is still innovating. Thanks to Dr. Kalam. I think he is the greatest president India had in the recent years. He is a great combination of Innovator, Teacher n Motivator.
Posted by Arun Muralidhar