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Vaccine technology wins grant

Innovative cooling technology that uses an ice-mass to maintain vaccine refrigerator temperature without power has won a $100,000 research award.

True Energy, based in Twywn, North Wales, will use the Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to scale down its Sure Chill technology to develop portable coolers.

The firm says the technology is capable of maintaining a constant 4 deg C in the refrigerator for up to 10 days without external power, making it attractive to developing countries.

Large vaccine refrigerators with Sure Chill technology approved by the World Health Organisation are already in widespread use, particularly in Haiti, South Sudan, Niger and Sierra Leone.

The growing use of the technology in global immunisation programmes has resulted in $1 million’s worth of orders for vaccine refrigerators to be sent to Zimbabwe, Chad and Ethiopia.

True Energy chief executive Keith Bartlett said: “In addition to its contribution to world health, it looks as if the Sure Chill technology will attract major interest from other market sectors such as domestic refrigeration and the food and beverage industry.”

True Energy chairman Peter Saunders has invested over £1m to develop the technology.

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