Using Bioenergy for Improved Cooling Systems for Food Storage in East Africa

The Biological Systems Engineering Department continues to work on anaerobic digestion systems and absorption chillers deployed in East Africa. Research includes ways to reduce the costs of absorption chillers used to chill milk and meat in Uganda. Researchers and implementers in Uganda have worked together for years to develop anaerobic digestion systems to produce energy from waste. The biogas produced has generally been used for cooking.

Recently, researchers and implementers have modified natural gas fridges to run on biogas and have installed over 30 systems in Uganda to improve food storage. For example, milk producers have reduced spoilage by greater than 25% using these systems and have improved their market power.

While interest has been high, the cost is still limiting installations. A Master’s student in Rebecca Larson’s lab is developing new designs and economic models to increase the marketability of the systems in order to reduce food spoilage and increase the economic outlook for farmers and food processors in Uganda. Her work will be used to directly reduce costs and increase installations in Uganda once complete.

Men working

Learn more about Rebecca Larson’s work:

Principal Investigator

Portrait of Rebecca Larson

Rebecca Larson

Biological Systems Engineering

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