Renewable Energy-Powered Bulk Milk Cooling for Smallholder Dairy Farmers

EPA Grant Number: SU834725
Title: Renewable Energy-Powered Bulk Milk Cooling for Smallholder Dairy Farmers
Investigators: Kisaalita, William S.
Current Investigators: Kisaalita, William S. , Brahmbhatt, Khoshboo Devang , Jones, Jonathan , Ndyabawe, Kenneth
Institution: University of Georgia
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Awards , Sustainability


To design, build, and test a 100-liter milk cooler, using vacuum-zeolite-adsorption evaporative cooling. Renewable energy (biogas) will be used to regenerate the zeolite for repeat cooling. Cow dung will be used as the substrate for the biogas digester or plant. The cooler will be located in close proximity to the biogas plant.


Unlike the small capacity (15.5 liter) under field testing, where the vacuum is sealed in at the point of manufacturing, in this case the vacuum will be produced on site with a modified standard hand pump every cool cycle. The zeolite will be packaged for easy handling in perforated plated that will be stacked in a stand alone vacuum chamber that will be connected to the water (refrigerant) chamber via a valve.

Expected Results:

The device will enable more milk from rural smallholder dairy farmers to enter the cold chain, resulting in increased incomes. In addition to milk cooling, farmers will use excess biogas for cooking and lighting, reducing the need to cut down trees (deforestation) to meet some of their domestic energy needs. At the same time, use of biogas in the regeneration will prevent fermenting cow dung to directly release methane, a more potent greenhouse gas in comparison to carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.

Supplemental Keywords:

poverty-alleviation, sustainable bottom-of-the-economic-pyramid technologies, alternative energy utilization, food security;

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • P3 Phase II:

    Renewable Energy-Powered Bulk Milk Cooling for Smallholder Dairy Farmers