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MittiCool, the zero electricity terra cotta refrigerator

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When there’s a power outage, food in the refrigerator doesn’t stay cold for long. And in rural India, a low-cost, consistently cool fridge improves quality of life; it keeps food from spoiling in the heat, which reduces shopping trips and spending.

These considerations prompted Mansukhbhai Prajapati, a traditional clay craftsman, to design and manufacture the MittiCool, a small refrigerator that works without electricity or greenhouse gas refrigerants. ‘Mitti’ means ‘clay’ in Hindi.

the MittiCool fridge
Based on a traditional evaporative cooling method, the all-natural terra cotta clay box includes a defining feature: a specially-made water reservoir built into its top.

When present in the reservoir on a hot day, the water warms, then evaporates through the porous clay, taking the heat with it. This process cools the inside chamber, keeping fruit, vegetables, and dairy products fresh for longer.

pouring water in the reservoir
Celebrated for its innovation, sustainability, and inclusive design, the MittiCool Clay Refrigerator was included the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection in London. Emily Downe and Kathrin Steinbacher, a.k.a. Studio Desk, worked with the V&A to tell Prajapati’s story.

the MittiCool refrigerator in the V&A
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