Solar-powered vaccine fridge may soon be available in remote areas in

Press release - October 13, 2006
An innovative new solar-powered refrigeration unit developed by Greenpeace International and six other international organizations, may soon be available in remote areas in the Philippines. The SolarChill Vaccine Cooler & Refrigerator, which won the Environmental Pioneer in Refrigeration award in the 2006 Cooling Industry Awards last week in the UK, will enable vaccines to be stored in areas around the world without an adequate electricity supply.

Greenpeace International (which provided coordination and funding for  the SolarChill project), UNICEF, UNEP, World Health Organization (WHO),  GTZ Proklima, Programmes for Appropriate Technologies in Health (PATH),  and the Danish Technological Institute, are among the project partners.

The project developed a versatile refrigeration technology that operates  on solar energy; uses environmentally safe refrigerants; bypasses the  use of lead batteries; and can also be plugged into the grid. Developed  over the last six years, SolarChill has been field-tested in Senegal,  Indonesia, and Cuba. Once it receives WHO approval, SolarChill will be  deployed across the world.

"SolarChill demonstrates in a very practical way how the largely untapped resource of clean, renewable, light energy from the sun can be harnessed to meet very basic human needs, such as the safeguarding of vaccines, medicines, and food supplies," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia  Climate and Energy campaigner Jasper Inventor. "This innovation will  improve the delivery of vaccine programs in many regions of the world,  particularly in developing countries like ours, and save countless lives."

Successful public health programs rely on a supply of high-quality vaccines that need continuous cooling to remain effective. Many regions in the world with non-existent, inadequate, or intermittent electricity supply cannot provide the required constant refrigeration, known as the 'cold chain'. This results in millions of dollars of spoiled vaccines each year, or sometimes a total absence of vaccination programs.

Aside from being applicable for emergency relief in natural or human made disaster zones, the new SolarChill Unit also addresses the current environmental concerns about existing kerosene and battery-powered solar fridges. SolarChill 1) does not use any ozone depleting or potent  substances which cause climate change; 2) provides a more reliable, safer, and cleaner form of refrigeration than kerosene refrigerators; and 3) improves on existing solar-vaccine cooling technology by bypassing the use of conventional lead batteries, which have proven to be a major obstacle to the uptake of solar technology in developing

countries.

With its reliance on solar power, SolarChill is an extension of Greenpeace's Climate Campaign. The campaign aims to reduce human contribution to global warming induced climate change by striving to wean the world off its reliance on fossil fuels through encouraging the rapid uptake of renewable energy generation, such as solar and wind.

The SolarChill Project also follows through from Greenpeace's work with 'Greenfreeze'. The development and successful commercialization of Greenfreeze hydrocarbon technology in domestic refrigeration is, to date, Greenpeace's most profound market intervention initiative. Since 1992 over 150 million Greenfreeze refrigerators have been manufactured in the world. All the major European, Japanese and Chinese manufacturers now produce Greenfreeze refrigerators. SolarChill incorporates Greenfreeze technology by eliminating the use of harmful ozone-depleting substances.

"SolarChill demonstrates the interdependence of all issues concerning environmental protection, international development, and human health and well being. We commend the 2006 Cooling awards for having recognized this clean, safe, life-saving initiative," said Greenpeace Germany Director of Special Projects Wolfgang Lohbeck.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environment problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Other contacts: Jasper Inventor, Climate and Energy Campaigner (Philippines), +63917 300 9567 Lea Guerrero, Media Campaigner (Philippines), +632 434 7034 ext 104, +63916 374 4969 Wolfgang Lohbeck, Special Projects, Greenpeace Germany, Direct line: +49 (0)171 87 80 823 Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Communications, +44 (0)7801 212 960

VVPR info: Further details about the SolarChill Project can be found on the following website: http://www.solarchill.org