Clever refrigerator uses waste heat, clay to preserve veggies (Video)

Fabio Molinas
© Fabio Molinas

It may sound surprising, but the best place for preserving your fresh fruits and veggies may actually be outside of the refrigerator -- where they will taste better, last longer and cost less in terms of energy bills. We've covered examples and low-tech tips on how to do this before, and now Spanish industrial designer Fabio Molinas takes this low-tech approach further by combining the waste heat of a conventional fridge with time-honoured tradition of using of clay to cool down perishables.

Fabio Molinas© Fabio Molinas

Dubbed OLTU and conceived of as an heat-converting "organism," the design involves rounded clay containers stacked on top of a small refrigerator. The containers' clever double-wall design is meant to be filled with water, which evaporates slowly thanks to the waste heat generated by the refrigerator, a process that also lowers the containers' internal temperatures -- thus naturally cooling its contents.

OLTU from Fabio Molinas on Vimeo.

There's some nice refinements in this Dyson award-winning design, like a rotating feature which allows for easier access, and some thought has been put into differentiating the containers themselves, says Molinas:

The three containers are positioned so, that the heat affects them differently, to provide a certain inside temperature. The two cold containers are placed at the back, while the fresh one is placed at the front. Cold-dry container interior is made of metal, so the vegetables are cooled, but not affected by humidity. All the containers have external openings to allow breathing, and it is completely accessible for the user thanks to the revolving plane situated at the top.

Fabio Molinas© Fabio Molinas
Fabio Molinas© Fabio Molinas
Fabio Molinas© Fabio Molinas

It's great to see this old trick used for millennia before the advent of refrigerants and appliances, but which also intentionally transforms the wasted energy produced by our modern predilection for convenience. Best of all, like learning about canning or seed-saving, there's a "strong educational component," explains Molinas: "Each person can now know about the needs of vegetables and preserve them in a more responsible and natural way." More over at Fabio Molinas' website.

Tags: Kitchens | video


treehugger slideshows