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  • Writer's pictureEric Verploegen

Webinar: Open-Source Fruit and Vegetable Cooling Chamber

Updated: May 7, 2023

Storing fruits and vegetables after harvest without cooling them can lead to spoilage and therefore a reduced supply of nutritious foods and reduced income for farmers. A team at MIT has published their design for a forced-air evaporative cooling chamber that can be built in a used shipping container. The detailed open-source documentation is intended to aid in the constriction of these chambers and encourage their use in hot and arid areas of the world where food security is a concern.

Evaporative cooling increases the humidity and reduces air temperature through an energy-efficient process. The chamber can provide a cool and humid environment for produce at half the cost of refrigerated cold rooms with similar capacity. This cool humid air is then forced through stacks of crates, rapidly cooling the produce inside. Designed specifically for the storage of fruits and vegetables in hot and dry climates, the forced-air evaporative cooling chamber can be constructed for on-grid as well as off-grid settings.

The open-source documentation covers the materials needed, descriptions of key systems, and steps for building a forced-air evaporative cooling chamber that provides rapid pre-cooling and improved storage for fruits and vegetables.​ The design documentation is available free of charge on this website:

The team from MIT D-Lab and the MIT Building Technology Program is hosting a webinar on May 17th from 10:00 - 11:30 Boston time to provide an overview of the chamber designs and answer questions from the audience.

Webinar details:

17 May 2023 at 10:00 EDT / 14:00 UTC / 15:00 WAT / 17:00 EAT / 19:30 IST

The development of the forced-air evaporative cooling chamber was led by researchers from MIT D-Lab and MIT's Building Technology Program. Pilot chambers were constructed in partnership with Solar Freeze in Kibwezi, Kenya and Hunnarshala Foundation in Bhuj, India. This work is made possible in part by funding from Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS).

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