Sustainable Technologies in Africa

2007-10 GC Seed Grant

The Sustainable Technologies in Africa Project supports new efforts to enhance sustainable technology development in Africa. One project aims to store and preserve vaccines during transportation to places that cannot be reached by Landrover by using a solar-powered refrigeration system that can be transported by camel. Significant progress has been made in the development and testing of the system for the preservation of vaccines in rural Kenya and Ethiopia.

Testing of the camel-carried, solar-powered refrigeration system. (Photo: Tiffany Tong)

Two camel saddles have been designed and built using bamboo. The saddles have also been integrated into a solar powered refrigeration system that has been configured to cool vaccines during multi-day missions to provide healthcare services to people in Laikipia,  Kenya and Ethiopia.The system was tested on camels at the Bronx Zoo before going to Ethiopia and Kenya to study its performance under real life conditions. It is now being used by the Nomadic Peoples’ Trust in delivering vaccines to people in Kenya.

Educational Impacts

A new course, “Science and Technology for African Development,” has been added to the curriculum. The PI is mentoring six (6) graduate and five (5) undergraduate students independent work. Three of the undergraduates have won departmental awards for their research.

Future Directions:

Work in the next year will continue with educational and research efforts as described above. Flexible solar panels will be integrated into the camel solar system in Kenya and Ethiopia. A questionnaire study of the impact of the solar powered LED lighting will also be conducted in Mpala, Kenya.

Finally, an imaging system will be developed for the early detection of cervical cancer in women in the developing world. The system will be tested at a hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Participating Department

Related Media and Press Coverage


Winston Soboyejo
Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Associates

  • Mahamadou Sagna

Graduate Students

  • Wali Akande
  • Onobu Akogwu
  • Yusuf Oni
  • Emily Paetzell
  • Tiffany Tong
  • Ismaiel Yakub

Undergraduate Students