What is the problem you are trying to solve and how is it related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?

Project Title

Development of an ecofriendly and affordable cooler using transpiration and evaporative cooling principles

What is the problem you are trying to solve and how is it related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?

According to the Food Aid Foundation, up to a ninth of the World’s population equivalent to about 795 million people face food insufficiency and consequently are unable to live healthy lifestyles (Food Aid Foundation, 2020). Many developing countries also face food insecurity especially during seasons of draught and prolonged bad weather. The problem that the project aims to solve is to promote food security especially in marginalized areas of developing countries that face the acutest needs for adequate food. The solution to the food insecurity challenge is proposed as the development of an ecofriendly cooler that can be used in rural areas with no electricity to prolong the shelf life of perishable foodstuffs such as fruits and vegetables. Such coolers may play a significant role in marginalized areas that in many cases often lack electricity to preserve food. Notably, most of these areas are agricultural areas but food usually goes to waste as a result of poor preservation methods.

The project’s driver is directly related to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on ending hunger and achieving food security by promoting sustainable food production systems. The adoption of the coolers would therefore lead to less wastage of food especially perishable foodstuff such as fruits contributing directly to improved food security. Improved food preservation would also lead to better prices of farm produce due to the enhanced ability of prolonging its shelf life.

What have you gleaned from the design spiral? What organisms/natural systems do you hope to learn from?  

The design spiral enhances structured thinking of an individual to develop solutions based on some preexisting challenge. The systematic approach allows the designer to critically review all possible solutions to a problem in a time efficient manner. It is an important strategy to funnel many ideas into one solution that solves the greater problem. In this project, the design spiral will assist in defining and reviewing all the ideas contributing to design of coolers that will enhance food security. The design spiral will also be important in monitoring the design and implementation processes of the project.

An Important natural process that will be studied include the effect of evaporation of water vapour from surfaces and the consequent cooling effect. The project will also lead to the study of plants with high transpiration rates such as the English ivy plant, the peace lily and the spider plant. The cooling effect associated with transpiration of such plants will also be reviewed with an aim of integrating the principles of transpiration cooling in the design of an ecofriendly cooler. A review of natural ventilation systems will also be crucial in the design of the ecofriendly coolers.


Food Aid Foundation (2020). Hunger Statistics. https://www.foodaidfoundation.org/world-hunger-statistics.html