In many developing countries, the rate of postharvest loss for fruits and vegetables exceeds 50 percent. Cool storage can greatly reduce these losses, but is virtually non-existent in many places due to the high cost of equipment. The CoolBot is one option for reducing the costs of a cold room, using a device that tricks an air conditioner into further reducing temperatures in a well insulated room.

What is the CoolBot?

The CoolBot was developed by Store It Cold as an affordable way for small-scale farmers to cool crops on their farms. This electronic device overrides an air conditioner’s temperature gauge, tricking it into working harder while preventing components from freezing. With an air conditioner and a CoolBot, an insulated room can be converted into a cool room to store fresh produce before sale, to maintain quality and extend shelf life.

Horticulture Innovation Lab and the CoolBot

Researchers with the Horticulture Innovation Lab have now tested cool rooms equipped with the CoolBot on three continents, using a variety of configurations related to insulation and power sources for the cool room. Helping farmers find ways to access cold storage to reduce postharvest losses and maintain fresh produce quality (and thus value) is one important way that the Horticulture Innovation Lab helps fruit and vegetable farmers improve their practices and increase income.