solar-camelCamels have been getting a bad rap recently, at least in Australia where they’ve become such a destructive invasive species and the government has called in airstrikes against them.  But in Kenya an organization called Nomadic Communities Trust has found a new sustainable solar cargo for the ships of the desert.

In partnership with Princeton University and The Art College of Design in California , the Nomadic Communities Trust has come up with a portable solar-powered refrigeration system that can be carried by camel to remote populations.  The system was designed to refrigerate vaccines and other medicines in areas that are not connected to a grid.

According to writer Jace Shoemaker-Galloway, the refrigeration system will consist of portable solar panels that can fold for easier transportation, along with a foot-powered backup system. A high-tech ergonomic aluminum frame will substitute for traditional sisal ropes, in order to prevent chafing and other discomfort to the camel. The equipment has been field-tested on camels at the Bronx Zoo and once funding is in place, Nomadic Communities Trust hopes to bring it to Kenya.

Utility-scale solar projects are fast becoming the norm, but it’s also important to remember that small-scale, portable solar can make a huge difference in areas of the world that are not grid-connected now, and will not be for many years into the future.

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