India produces more than 250 million tons of food every year, which is enough to meet the needs of its entire population. A study estimates that around 67 million tons – of the value of around Rs 92,000 crores – is wasted in India every year. It lost during production, processing, retailing and consumption.
In an attempt to cut wastage of agricultural produce and augment income for farmers, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) have developed a portable, low-cost cold storage device to preserve and transport farm produce.
The device, called Tan90, uses thermal energy storage. The photovoltaic-powered refrigeration system is used to charge the indoor thermal battery in the form of latent heat during day time and can maintain a sub-ambient temperature (up to 10 degree Celsius) for 10 hours.
It comes with a storage capacity to hold 58 liters and can be used to preserve farm produce like vegetables and fruits. The device can also be used to store dairy products and vaccines.
“Tan90 increases the shelf-life of agricultural produce since it has better insulation design. Dairy, vegetable and fruit farmers can improve the quality of their products with this refrigeration system,” said Satyanarayanan Seshadri, assistant professor at the Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT Madras, who is mentoring the Tan90 team.
In tests, the device has shown to help increase the quality of products delivered to customers. It has been tested with a wide range of products ranging from horticulture, meat/fish to high-value pharmaceuticals and biologicals.
Besides, the freezer has been tested among farmers in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Telangana so far, reports The Hindu.
Tan90 will cost around ₹5,000 to ₹5,500 and is expected to be a hit with organic farm producers.