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Directory:Abba Pot-in-Pot Cooling System

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Electric-free Refrigeration

Nigerian inventor, Mohammed Bah Abba, of Mobah Rural Horizons, has received awards for his simple-to-implement invention of and evaporative cooler consisting of one pot inside another, with wet river sand in between and a damp cloth (or jute bag) on top. When kept in a dry, well-ventilated, and shady location, water evaporates, cooling the inner container.

The method is already starting to have widespread impact in the third world for food preservation in high-temperature, dry climates. In northern Nigeria, where Mohammed is from, over 90% of the villages have no electricity.

With this simple technology, eggplant can last 27 days rather than three. African spinach can be kept for 12 days instaed of spoiling after one day. Tomatoes and pepers stay fresh for three weeks. Framers no longer need to sell their products in a hurry. Young girls are free to attend school, instead of hawking food every day.

In the developed world, it seems someone could pursue the development of something like this for emergency preparedness needs.


How it Works - Mohammed Abba profile

Image:Abba pot-in-pot cooling Rolex illustration sq 450.gif

The device owes its cooling powers to a simple law of thermodynamics. When moisture comes into contact with dry air, it evaporates, causing an immediate drop in temperature. When the water in the sand between the two pots evaporates, the inner pot is kept cool, preserving the goods inside.

On April 10, 2008, David Allan (Congress:Founder:Sterling D. Allan's father) wrote:

This uses the heat of sublimation (120 calories per gram in reverse). [My grandmother] used to have a similar refrigerator. It was on the north side of a big lilac bush by the door to her kitchen. It was a wooden box with a burlap sack hanging over the front. She had a water hose dripping on the top of the burlap. The water would wick down over the face of the shelves in the box, and as the water evaporated it would cool the air behind the burlap i.e. the inside air where the milk and other things were kept cool.

The old canvas water bag works on the same principle. Dry, warm air over the face of the material causes the evaporation. In other words, it would not work in a high humidity situation e.g. the humid jungle.

The eutectic salts we are using in our home use a similar idea -- the heat of fusion (80 calories per gram in Glauber's salts). I designed the addition to our farm home down the road to use this for heating in the winter and for cooling in the summer. These are called phase-change phenomena liquid (water) to vapor solid to liquid or liquid to solid. Most of the temperature control of the body is also the reverse of the heat of sublimation you sweat and it evaporates. That is how a warm breeze can feel so cooling if you have water on you skin.


Global X interview with Mohammed Abba


(8:04 minutes)

Mohammed Abba - Nigeria - Mohammed Abba runs Mobah Rural Horizons, which provides an electricity-free refrigeration system easy to operate by African villagers. He tells Global X why his simple technology, which better preserves local crops, is breaking the vicious cycle of poverty. The results: farmers sell their crops when demand is high, and more girls can go to school. (YouTube December 19, 2007)


very affordable for third world


works in dry climate, no electricity required.


cooling, refrigeration


emergency preparedness




Keeping Cool in the Heat - Rolex Award for Excellence

The Tech Museum Awards - Technology Benefiting Humanity - 2006 Economic Development Award Laureate. Mohammed Bah Abba designed an elegantly simple food storage device that is made up of two ... (TechAwards)

Worldaware Business Awards 2001 - The Shell Award for Sustainable ... - Last year, Mobah Rural Horizons was one of five winners of Rolex Awards for Enterprise. ... Mobah Rural Horizons, PO Box 10591, Kano, Kano State, Nigeria ...

Fund Drives

The Desert Fridge: Give Electricity-Free Cooling - donation objective: $25,000. (Global Giving . com Aug 16, 2007)


Company: Mobah Rural Horizons

Mohammed sells around 30,000 coolers a year to farmers and other people who want to preserve food for their families and communities.

Inventor: Mohammed Bah Abba

Mohammed Bah Abba is CEO of Mobah Rural Horizons. He graduated from Santa Clara University.


Google >


See Talk:Directory:Abba Pot-in-Pot Cooling System

Talk:Directory:Abba Pot-in-Pot Cooling System

Talk:Directory:Abba Pot-in-Pot Cooling System

Talk:Directory:Abba Pot-in-Pot Cooling System

Talk:Directory:Abba Pot-in-Pot Cooling System

Related Technologies

Mitticool: Clay Refrigerator - “Mitticool? – a village fridge, made of special clay is rectangular in shape and does not need electricity to operate. Designed to deliver cold water, required any time of the day or night and for storing fruits and vegetables without losing their original taste. It has an inlet for water which is circulated in the system through internal piping.

Contact - Mohammed Abba profile

Mohammed Bah Abba


#470 Ribadu Road


Kano, Kano State Box 10591


phone: +234-80-33-74-17-07

Email: []


See Talk:Directory:Abba Pot-in-Pot Cooling System

See also

Directory:Clean Energy Technologies for the Developing World

Directory:Evaporative Cooling - Directory of technologies and methods of using evaporative cooling for non-electric refrigeration.

Directory:Home Generation:Air Conditioning

Directory:Home Generation:Refrigerators


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