Imperial College London

'Super-fridge' to help improve lives in developing countries


All-in-one fridge, cooker and electricity generator aims to improve life in rural communities - <em>News Release</em>

See also...

Faculty of Engineering

External sites:

SCORE website

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

(Imperial College is not responsible for the content of these external internet sites)

For immediate use
Friday 11 May 2007

An all-in-one cooker, energy generator and fridge could soon be improving quality of life in developing countries, thanks to an international project launched this week.

The £2m Stove for Cooking, Refrigeration and Electricity (SCORE) project aims to work with rural communities in Africa and Asia, where access to power is limited, to develop a versatile domestic appliance powered by biomass that will significantly improve health and welfare.

The team hopes that the device will also promote economic growth and reduce poverty by enabling communities to take ownership of its development and establish businesses from its manufacture, repair and application.

Dr Keith Pullen of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London leads Imperial's side of the project with Ron Dennis and will work to ensure that the technology can be adopted, developed and maintained in developing countries. He says:

"Heat, refrigeration and energy form the basis of a decent quality of life, from storing medicines at the right temperature to improving access to education through electricity for computers and lighting. But you can't just go into communities and tell them what they need - what's so important about this project is that we are working in partnership with people to work out what's possible and develop something sustainable based on the skills and the raw materials available locally."

The electricity generating and refrigerating aspects of SCORE will be operated through thermoacoustic principles, which convert sound waves into heat and vice versa. This technology is far more efficient and less polluting than burning wood in an open fire, currently the primary cooking method of two billion people around the world. Dr Pullen adds:

"Using this technology while ensuring that the device is relatively low-cost and can be produced using local materials and labour is one of the great challenges of this project. Thermoacoustic systems have always been expensive and high-tech - a great deal of the first stage of this project will be taken up with translating the technology into something that can easily be mass produced."

The five year project is funded by grants from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as part of its initiative on energy and international development. It will comprise three years of social and scientific research and a further two years focused on technology handover, including field trials.

The project is a collaboration between Imperial and the Universities of Nottingham and Manchester, Queen Mary, University of London, Los Alamos National Laboratory, GP Acoustics and the charity Practical Action. Universities in Africa and Asia will also join the project on the design, development, production and introduction of the device.

For further information contact:

Abigail Smith
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: 020 7594 6701

Notes to editors:

Further information about SCORE is available at:

About Imperial College London

Rated as the world’s ninth best university in the 2006 Times Higher Education Supplement University Rankings, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 11,500 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality.

Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

With 62 Fellows of the Royal Society among our current academic staff and distinguished past members of the College including 14 Nobel Laureates and two Fields Medallists, Imperial's contribution to society has been immense. Inventions and innovations include the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of our research for the benefit of all continues today with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to tackle climate change and mathematical modelling to predict and control the spread of infectious diseases.

The College's 100 years of living science will be celebrated throughout 2007 with a range of events to mark the Centenary of the signing of Imperial's founding charter on 8 July 1907.


Press office

Press Office
Communications and Public Affairs

Click to expand or contract

Contact details