WAKATI: Solar Powered Food Preserver

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Is it possible to keep fruits and vegetables from spoiling without refrigeration?  In developing countries where electricity is scarce, a means for keeping produce fresh can make a big difference in profit and livelihood for a farmer because then more of their product can be sold before going bad.  The Wakati solves that problem and keeps crops fresh without electricity before crops rot.

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The Wakati keeps food fresh by creating a microclimate and circulating the air, it also prevents fungi from growing.  It keeps food fresh for 10X longer allowing farmers more time to get their crops to the market.  Instead of cooling food, the Wakati keeps it hydrated.   It’s powered by a small solar panel, so it can work anywhere.

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Belgium based designer Arne Pauwels, founder of the Wakati says “I decided to run an experiment:  I took a waste paper basket, placed an evaporator in it with some crops of lettuce inside and outside, heated the room to over 86 degrees, and waited a couple of days…..To my surprise the crops inside the paper basket looked fine, but the ones outside were completed wilted.”

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The Wakati is a solar powered, sterilized microclimate that stores and ventilates fruits and vegetable.  A 3 W solar panel rests atop a tent-like box.  The solar power runs a ventilator that gradually evaporates a weekly supply of about 6.7 oz of water, creating a humid environment within the Wakati that keeps produce fresh.  Crops can dry out quickly after being harvested, but with this system the humidity keeps the cells of the crops intact and the acids and enzymes inside the cells that would normally begin to digest the crops are kept under control.

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It has nothing to do with temperature control, so it’s not a long-term food storage solution, but it does make short-term storage last a bit longer.  Wakati has already supplied 100 of the systems to areas in Haiti, Uganda, and Afghanistan and plans to start mass production soon which will cost $100.





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