Delivering a secure cold chain globally thanks to solar-powered refrigerators
SMART Innovation helped Dulas:
- Develop Solar Direct Drive Technology, a new generation of refrigeration
- Deliver life-saving cold chain equipment for the safe storage of Covid-19 vaccines in developing countries
- Create the Dulas Academy, an online training portal used worldwide
Dulas has become a key player in the roll-out of Solar Direct Drive (SDD) refrigerators across the developing world, thanks to the support received through the Welsh Government’s EU-funded SMART Innovation programme.
Dulas was established in 1982 by engineers from the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, where they are still based today.
The company delivers industry-leading products and services using solar, wind and hydro energy. A core element of Dulas’s business is the supply of a secure cold chain to remote heath facilities located across the globe. Its SDD vaccine refrigerators ensure that life-saving immunisation programmes can take place in the most remote destinations, such as communities in Northern Nigeria or coastal Madagascar.
The company first contacted SMART Innovation in 2013 to help develop refrigerators directly powered by the sun rather than using traditional batteries. The Welsh Government-run innovation programme has since funded its research into renewable energy and provided Dulas with expertise to develop its online learning management system (LMS) as part of the refrigerator project.
This online training portal – accessed via Dulas’s Academy – became crucial when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, as the traditional method of travelling to carry out training to Ministry of Health and cold chain technicians in-country was not feasible. Instead, technicians around the world can now set up and operate the refrigerators themselves through using the portal.
The novel approach helped the company secure further orders for their refrigerators which in turn enabled the team to continue their life-saving work in cold chain distribution. It has also helped secure future projects and training programmes for UN and non-UN customers.
Ruth Chapman, Manging Director at Dulas, said: “Immunisation is something we take for granted in the western world and is a fundamental component of any modern healthcare system.
“However, there are still countries that, due to civil war or other factors, have great difficulty in ensuring that their population can get immunised.
“Just recently, for example, we shipped around 700 SDD refrigerators to Yemen for use in temporary health centres as the country is going through a period of great instability, conflict and poverty.”
Dulas recently celebrated 40 years in business and at a crucial turning point for renewables they continue to grow and fully intend on being part of the global effort to end the reliance on fossil fuels by harnessing clean renewable energy sources.