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Nominated for Innovation and Technology award

Ian Tansley of Sure Chill Ltd, based in Tywyn, Gwynedd is the brains behind an innovative way of refrigerating vaccines for hot countries where there is little or no power infrastructure.

He has now developed a revolutionary refrigeration unit surrounded by water. When it has power, the water cools and forms ice above the compartment leaving only water at four degrees cooling the contents. When there is no power, the water warms and rises and the ice begins to melt, keeping only 4-degree water cooling the contents of the fridge. It has its own internal and entirely natural energy store that maintains a completely steady temperature. The fridge can operate without power for days or even weeks. The technology thus harnesses a unique property of water to create a constantly chilled environment.

Last year the company was awarded $1.4m by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to use this technology to develop a life-saving vaccine cooler as part of the foundation’s goal to eliminate preventable diseases worldwide. This follows $100,000 already granted to the company to develop the proof of concept version of the cooler. The company has vaccine refrigerators operating in more than 30 countries and this year, it shipped 200 units to the Philippines to help UNICEF in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan.