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Bangladesh's ‘Eco-Cooler’ Beats the Heat Without Electricity

Making of an eco cooler. Screenshot from YouTube Video

Making of an eco cooler. Screenshot from YouTube Video

Bangladesh has a hot, wet, and humid tropical climate with temperatures rising unto 45 degrees Celsius (113ºF) in the summer. Most of the rural Bangladeshi population lives in corrugated tin huts that can get dangerously hot under the scorching sunlight. Many of the houses do not have electricity to run affordable cooling devices, such as ceiling fans.

A new social venture has come up with a simple idea to provide a cheap solution to the problem. Grey Dhaka, the Bangladesh wing of New-York-based advertising agency Grey, and the Grameen Intel Social Business, a social business information technology company created in 2009 by Grameen Trust and Intel, teamed up to create the Eco-Cooler.

The Eco-Cooler is made of cardboard and used plastic bottles, which are ubiquitous in Bangladesh. Holes are cut in a grid from the cardboard, with plastic bottles fitted into the holes. (The bottoms of the bottles are removed, before this step.) As air rushes into the bottles at the wider part and hits the bottleneck, the air blown into the home cools markedly. The Eco-Cooler can lower the temperature by 5°C (9ºF) in a short time and that can make a difference.

This technology is very simple. Internet users can download the design for free and make an Eco-Cooler at home. The following video explains the process:

Sambeet Chakraborty writes on Facebook:

An amazingly simple idea..making lives better for millions in Bangladesh.

A.R. Mashrur Hasan Mukut says:

Absolutely Brilliant idea!! so easy and simple to execute!! we all should spread this idea out among those who need this !!

Instructions to make the eco-cooler is available in its website

Instructions to make the eco-cooler is available in its website

The first prototype was installed in March 2015 and it was ready for launch by February 2016. Eco-Coolers have been installed for free in thousands of homes as a part of corporate social responsibility program in villages in Nilphamari, Daulatdia, Paturia, Modonhati, and Khaleya across Bangladesh. The venture is also teaching people how to make these devices and then teach others to do the same.

The raw materials are easily available everywhere, and Eco-Coolers can be a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly cooling solution in many countries across the world.

There don’t seem to be any independent reviews of how well the eco-cooler works easily available online, but if you’ve built or tested one, let us know.

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  • Frank Sheeran

    I’ve seen this a couple months ago and I believe it will not work.

    Yes, thanks to the Venturi effect, air going through a smaller cross-section picks up velocity, and the energy comes from reducing pressure. IF YOU WERE IN THE NARROW MOUTHS OF THE BOTTLES you’d feel the advertised effect.

    However, when the air leaves the bottleneck, it returns to the velocity, and pressure, and temperature, that it had before entering the bottle. The same as outside, in other words. In fact technically, the friction of its trip through the bottles should have heated it slightly if imperceptably.

    An alternative debunk: you can’t destroy heat, you can merely move it around. This is why an air conditioner gives you cool air but blasts extremely hot air out the other side. If the air coming inside were really colder, what part of the system is receiving that heat? The bottles? Consider a furnace that could raise air the claimed temperature differential in the volume described (several cubic meters a minute surely.) That’d melt the plastic and cause the wood to burst into flame in very short order. (This assumes the heat pump were 100% efficient; in practice their not, so dropping the air temp 10F would heat up the bottles by MORE than the amount of heat generated by a furnace raising air temps 10F.)

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