Industrial Design & Technology BA
Final Year Design Project - Isobar
2016 UK James Dyson Award Winner
Isobar is a portable off-grid cooling system for vaccine delivery in the third world.
Most vaccines have to be kept between 2-8°C in order to work effectively. Ice and cold packs often freeze vaccines in the last-mile which causes them to lose potency. This costs thoudands of lives and wastes money on expensive vaccines.
The cooling unit helps prevent this issue by providing long-term stable temperature control in an insulated backpack. It can be electrically charged in an hour and provide up to 6-days of cooling power. The internal chemistry can be recharged on-the-go using a propane stove. Should the courier experience unexpected delays during their journey , Isobar is able to provide extended cooling power using propane recharges for up to 30-days without the need for mains power.
The product is initially charged using electricity or by heating it on a propane stove for an hour. This creates a scaled-down absorption refridgeration cycle. This is where a mix of ammonia and water is heated to a certain temperature and pressure. Once it reaches optimum conditions the ammonia vaporises and separates from the water into the upper chamber of the product where it is trapped by a valve. Ammonia is chemically attracted to water, so when the device is flipped over and the valve is opened the ammonia evaporates back in with the water. It is this process of evaporation that gives off a strong cooling effect that is tuned to provide a stable 3°C- suitable for the vaccines to be stored.
William's design is safer than leading methods as it keeps the vaccines at exact temperatures, which maintains their potency. It charges 24 times faster than other leading technologies, enabling faster last-mile distribution of vaccine that doesn't require regular maintenance. In addition, the backpack is lighter and more comfortable to carry than alternative vaccine boxes.