In the wake of the devastating earthquake that rocked the Indian state of Gujarat in 2001, Mansukhbhai Prajapati came up with the idea of a refrigerator that did not electricity to run. Prajapati was prompted into making such a fridge when he saw his home-made water filter on the news with the caption “The broken fridge of the poor”. This gave him the idea to come up with Mitticool.
Prajapati spent the next three years of his life in testing various designs of refrigerators made from different types of soil and clay. He finalized the design of “Mitticool” fridge in 2005. Mitticool is very aptly named as “mitti” means clay in Hindi and the fridge uses clay to keep things cool and fresh.
Here is how it works. This fridge uses a special type of terracotta clay and porous walls. About 10 liters of water is poured into a specific compartment of Mitticool from where it travels through the pores to keep its temperature low and eventually evaporates, keeping the things inside nice and fresh. Prajapati claims that the Mitticool can keep things fresh for up to five days.
This fridge is available at a meagre Rs. 5500 (about $55) and it sounds like a bargain as it does not require electricity. Prajapati was helped on his venture by IIM Ahmedabad professor Anil Gupta, who helped raise some funds for his business and also presented Mitticool at the National Innovation Foundation in 2005.
Prajapati is now working on 5-minute Mitticools that would cool down water within the specified time.