A vendor selling ice-cream using a solar power freezer in Vijayawada.— PHOTO: CH. VIJAYA BHASKAR
Sun is the worst enemy of ice-cream vendors. The task of selling ice-cream in summer when the demand for it is at its highest is more difficult.
The Glycol Freezers that are regularly used by the vendors are heavy and require a comparatively large amount of power.
Power cuts are a big problem for ice-cream vendors too like any other small business.
Kothapeta Kodanda Ramu, a manufacturer of bottle-coolers and ice-cream freezers with 42 years experience in the field has come up with an innovative solution to the problems of ice-cream vendors. His solar-powered ice-cream freezer, a patent for which is still pending, seems to have resolved all the problems.
“The ‘Glycol freezers’ that are currently being used by ice-cream vendors are comparatively heavy,” Mr. Ramu says. By night the Glycol freezers have to return to base-camp to be plugged in. The fluid that keeps the freezers at sub-zero temperatures (ideally minus 15 degrees Celsius) is mixed with Glycol (hence the name) to prevent it from freezing and for reaching very low temperatures.
The temperatures of the freezer falls to minus 30 degrees Celsius by morning and it gradually rises during the day to above minus 15 degrees Celsius, sometimes even higher than minus 14 degrees Celsius when the ice-cream begins to melt.
Each Glycol freezer consumes three to four units of power a day, says Mr. Ramu.
The Solar freezers, on the contrary, weigh 50 per cent less, are environment-friendly, do not consume any power and are truly mobile because they do not have to return to base camp to be plugged in. The biggest benefit is that power-cuts are of no consequence at all. The solar freezers are much safer when compared to the Glycol freezers, he says.
During day time the solar panels which provide shade from the harsh sun to the vendor and the freezer, generate enough power to cool the freezer and simultaneously charge a battery. The battery gives enough power to keep the freezer cool during the night, Mr. Ramu says.
The only drawback with the solar freezer is the high initial investment of Rs.62,000. The branded Glycol Freezers cost half the price and the assembled ones cost about a third of the solar freezers.
Kothapeta Kodanda Ramu’s sun-powered freezer, a patent for which is still pending, seems to have resolved all the problems