The competition, organised by the U.S. Department of Energy, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Global LEAP awards, aims to increase availability of off-grid refrigeration solutions in Africa.
The Global LEAP awards – organised by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in conjunction with the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP, the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Energy Access Initiative) and USAID– are encouraging innovators and appliance manufacturers to participate in a $600,000 competition that aims to increase the availability of off-grid energy refrigeration solutions in developing countries.
Rural parts of Nigeria, India, and Bangladesh often do not have access to refrigeration, with less than 10% of inhabitants owning a fridge.
“While these areas often lack reliable access to electricity, households and businesses spent about $75 million globally on refrigerators in 2015 – specifically on expensive, inefficient, poor quality products,” said Katrina Pielli, a senior energy advisor at USAID
The Global LEAP Awards seek to bring to market refrigeration products that are affordable, energy efficient and good quality.
“Together, we can work with Africa to leapfrog polluting energy sources [like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)] and inefficient grids, going straight to cleaner energy and unlocking life-transforming energy services for the over 600 million Africans currently lacking access to electricity.”
- U.S. Agency for International Development's Katrina Pielli
“Together, we can work with Africa to leapfrog polluting energy sources [like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)] and inefficient grids, going straight to cleaner energy and unlocking life-transforming energy services for the over 600 million Africans currently lacking access to electricity,” Pielli said.
Good opportunity for business
2015 spending by off-grid and bad-grid households could triple to about $220 million, according to a Global LEAP report estimating that the market will grow 38% each year to $1.1 billion by 2020 – representing a good opportunity for business.
“Many in the refrigeration industry are poised to take advantage of the off-grid refrigeration market. What kind of product would sell in Africa and bring us to that billion-dollar market?” said Pielli.
Some companies have already come up with innovative products to crack the developing market.
SECOP released an R600a compressor in July of this year with a voltage range between 170-264V to deal with places that have fluctuating power. In September 22-year-old designer William Broadway won the UK James Dyson Award for his ammonia water portable cooling system for temperature-sensitive vaccines. The chiller can be charged in an hour and last up to six days.
The competition process
Three products will be awarded a prize of $200,000 each in three categories: energy efficiency, affordability and customer appeal. Manufacturers will also gain access to the Global LEAP Procurement Incentives Program, “which helps distribute products in off-grid markets,” Pielli said.
The deadline for applying is 20 January 2017. Nominations can be submitted here.
“As we review competition applications, we are also eager for feedback from appliance manufacturers on how to incentivise technology innovation for off-grid consumers and make it easier for businesses to apply their products and ideas to power Africa,” Pielli concluded.
The Global LEAP Awards Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition is a partnership between Clean Energy Ministerial’s Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Power Africa and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development’s (DfiD) Ideas to Impact Programme. This competition is part of Scaling Off-Grid Energy, the newest Grand Challenge for Development.