In the United States, we take our appliances for granted. But in poorer countries around the world, there are millions of people without access to electricity, let alone refrigerators to keep their food from spoiling.
After an earthquake struck the Morbi area of India in 2001, a man by the name of Mansukh Prajapati decided to build a refrigerator that wouldn't need electricity to operate.
The result was the Mitticool, a $50 clay cooler that uses an unusual cooling method. We've seen our share of low-power fridges, but this one is different: It uses evaporation to keep food from going bad.
The fridge is divided into two chambers: The top chamber stores water, while the bottom one is where you store your food. Water drips from the top chamber down the sides of the bottom chamber and evaporates, removing heat in the process. The bottom chamber has two shelves suitable for storing vegetables and even dairy. There's also a tap built into the top chamber to dispense drinking water.
Fast Company reports that the fridge keeps its contents 8°C below room temperature, which equates to about 55°F in a 70°F room. Compared to a typical American fridge, that's quite warm, but it's certainly better than leaving food out at room temperature.
The only downside is the fridge's extreme weight. Thanks to its heavy-duty clay construction, it takes two men to pick one up. The construction process is also quite long, taking about 10 days to make just one fridge.
Despite the downsides, Prajapati claims to have sold over 5,000 units—not bad for a fridge made of clay.