Inventor of no-electricity refrigerator wins Rolex award

pot-in-potMohammed Bah Abba of Nigeria won a Rolex award for his "pot-in-pot refrigerator. It consists of a smaller clay pot inside a larger clay pot. The gap is filled with damp sand. As the sand water evaporates, the inner pot cools. Food that used to spoil in a few days now stays fresh for weeks. Second-order effects are already being noticed — for one thing, girls who had to skip school to sell food at markets can now attend classes. Link (Thanks, juju!)

Alex Steffen sez: I love the pot-within-a-pot concept. Really excellent design, exactly what the world needs more of. And a guy commented this on our worldchanging post about it a couple weeks ago:

"The town I live in was settled by Quakers, the museum has an example of a refrigerator that uses a similar technique but with a wood box. It claims to be the first such device in America although that could be local folklore. Certainly the Pot-in-Pot can't be the first such invention of that type, in fact the Amish currently use this one, in production since 1900. What makes Pot-in-Pot special is the use of local materials and skills so that it can be accepted by the local culture. I suspect Africa has a lot to learn from the Amish and other modern low-tech cultures, maybe there should be an Amish technology transfer to Africa."

Thought it kind of cool. Then there's this water filter.
Pottery will save the world! um, or something like that…