Off-grid cooler brings cold Coke to Colombians. Maybe.

bio-cooler
Screen capture Leo Burnett

It is hot in Colombia, and a lot of people have to live without a regular supply of electricity, if any. So you can't just drop in a Coke machine and plug it in. So Leo Burnett Columbia, an advertising agency, built their own off-grid fridge. According to their submission for a Cannes Lion ad award,

Leo Burnett/Screen capture

We should find the way to get energy to refrigerate the product. We researched about refrigeration technologies which don´t use electric power, we analyzed simple and ancient times techniques on how keep food and beverages fresh. As a conclusion, we decided to combine the evaporation refrigeration principle with a conventional absorption refrigeration system activated just from the sun's energy concentration captured by a parabolic mirror. The design line respects the next brand visibility guidelines and applies a very subtle eco design tone.

Leo Burnett/Screen capture

There is nothing new about evaporative cooling; Kim just wrote about a beautiful unit here. They don't just add water, but also have plants that cool even more through transpiration. That's a start.

Leo Burnett/Screen capture

But the real innovation may be the solar powered "conventional absorption refrigeration system." This technology has been around for over a hundred years; it is used in propane fridges, and we have talked about running it on solar power. It is not easy to do; the input temperatures and conditions have to be just right to get the ammonia to evaporate and then condense in order to transfer the heat. A propane flame is easy to control; the sun is not. The Broad Corporation in China, king of the absorption cooler biz, couldn't make it work. As the price of solar panels came down to where they are today, it no longer made sense to even try; it is now cheaper to pile on enough panels to run an efficient conventional air conditioner or a thermoelectric cooler than is to try and make absorption work.

The Coca-Cola Bio cooler from Leo Burnett Colombia on Vimeo.

Leo Burnett made a beautiful prize winning commercial and a lovely looking Coke machine, but does it really work as advertised? Does it really cool a can of Coke down 50 degrees Fahrenheit? If it does, there are a whole lot of other markets (like vaccines) that are desperate for this kind of thing. Or, it could just be a great commercial for a concept that is still ammonia vaporware.

Found on Inhabitat

Tags: Advertising | Colombia | Solar Power