Updated on January 19, 2024


Created on September 11, 2019

Charcoal Cooler

Upcoming Update

A Charcoal Cooler is a storage chamber constructed from locally available materials and is used to store perishable commodities under cool temperatures.

Developed By
  1. Open Source
Tested By
  • Gandhi Engineering College
  • University of Nairobi
Content Partners


Product Description

The Charcoal Cooler is a storage chamber that is used to keep perishable commodities without the need of electricity. The chamber works on the principle of evaporative cooling. The device is made of open timber frame with the sides filled with charcoal, which is continually kept moist. As warm, dry air passes through the moist charcoal, it draws energy from its surroundings which produces a considerable cooling effect.


Target SDGs

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Market Suggested Retail Price


Market Suggested Retail Price (Secondary Currency)


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Community, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Open source technology, can be locally fabricated

Competitive Landscape

Direct competitors include Solar Powered Communal Refrigeration and Zeer Pot.

Manufacturing/Building Method

The Charcoal cooler can be constructed from locally available materials such as timber, wire mesh, charcoal, dry grass or papyrus reeds. It should be put under a shade but with free flowing wind. This video developed by Farm Concern International shows the construction of a Charcoal Cooler step by step

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Different unit sizes of the Charcoal Cooler can be constructed by local artisans with materials which can be obtained locally.

Distributions to Date Status


Storage capacity (L)

Varies depending on storage needs

Time to cool (hr)

Dependent on design and rate of evaporation

Cooling retention (hr)

Dependent on design and rate of evaporation

Temperature control


Minimum internal temperature (°C)

Between 10-15°C lower than ambient conditions, but depends on rate of evaporation

Materials of construction


Protection from insect entry


Refrigeration cycle catalyst

Water should be left to run at least twice a day, depending on rate of evaporation

Design Specifications

A Charcoal Cooler storage is designed to function on the principle of evaporative cooling. The device is constructed from open timber frame which is filled with charcoal on the sides. Water from an overhead tank is used to spray the charcoal maintaining it wet. As warm, dry air flows through this wet medium, water is evaporated into the air, giving a cooling effect. The higher the rate of flow of the dry wind, the lower the temperatures are achieved.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

There is no technical support and users are expected to maintain the device on their own.

Replacement Components

Timber, charcoal and wire mesh which can be purchased locally



Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

In hot and dry climate ( 30°C and less than 30% humidity), the temperature in the storage chamber will be 10°C lower than the average ambient temperature and relative humidity treater than 75%.

Vetted Performance Status

A study conducted by the University of Nairobi, Kenya showed that the Charcoal Cooler is capable of extending shelf life of camel milk for at least one day during the marketing period. During the study period, the cooler consistently maintained an average temperature drop of 10.5±0.4°C below the ambient temperature.



There are no known safety hazards related to this product.

Complementary Technical Systems

The device requires reliable source of water to operate efficiently.

Academic Research and References

El-Refaie, M. F. and Kaseb, S., 2009, Speculation in the feasibility of evaporative cooling. Building and Environment, 44: 826–838

Gunhan, T., Demir, V. and Yagcioglu, A. K., 2007, Evaluation of the suitability of some local materials as cooling pads. Biosystems Engineering, 96 (3): 369–377.

Compliance with regulations


Other Information

Targets farmers and traders in rural areas of the world with hot climates and with no electricity connection. YouTube video developed by Farm Concern International. Evaporative Cooling Technical Brief Various research institutions including University of Nairobi and Gandhi Engineering College,  have studied and reported the beneficial effect of Charcoal Cooler with various produce.  

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