Jump to Content

Back to Navigation

Off-Grid Cold Chain Challenge

Modern cold chain technology is crucial to developing local and international agriculture-based markets and improving economic outcomes and food security.

Cold Hubs 42

Cold chain refrigeration has the potential to significantly improve livelihoods for smallholder farmers and small traders by reducing post-harvest of high-value crop loss, increasing profits through greater bargaining power at the market place, and enabling better commercialization of agricultural produce in regional and international markets.

Modern cold chains manage the temperature of perishable goods from farm to table, maintaining quality and safety in the supply chain, reducing food loss and increasing food supplies. However, the technology is often out of reach in off-grid areas in developing markets due its cost, a lack of access to reliable electricity, and the wide variety of uncoordinated stakeholders in the broader cold chain.

The Global LEAP Off-Grid Cold Chain Challenge (OGCCC) is an international competition to identify and promote the most energy-efficient, sustainable and cost-effective technologies that can meet the cold storage requirements for fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products in the following countries: Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Innovation prizes of 75k, 35k, and 25k GBP will be awarded to the top three product winners respectively to stimulate advances in cold change technology markets.

2018-2019 Competition

Cold chains manage the temperature of perishable products from farm to table and play a critical role in developing countries, where post-harvest food losses and processing for farmers can be as high as 40%. Establishing cold chains as extensive and reliable as those in industrialized countries would enable developing countries to raise food supply by 15% – about 250 million tonnes.

By supporting the development of innovative cold chain solutions that run off clean energy, the Global LEAP Off-Grid Cold Chain Challenge will catalyze technology innovation and market development. Innovation prizes will be awarded to products that demonstrate innovation in energy efficiency, off-grid appropriateness, scalability and feasibility of deployment.

In June 2018, 10 companies were selected to progress to stage 2 of the OGCCC. Each finalist was given £10,000 to help defray deployment costs of their cold rooms. For stage 2 of the competition, products underwent rigorous field-testing consisting of technical performance captured through remote monitoring equipment and qualitative surveys administered on site and over the phone. Temperature and energy performance were captured on some units for as long as six months. In October 2019, an expert panel of four judges selected the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place solutions. View the judges’ selections and the corresponding prize amounts awarded to each company.

The Global LEAP OGCCC competition is a joint initiative with Energy 4 Impact, with the support of the Ideas to Impact programme, which is funded by the UK Department for International Development, and Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative.