Good Thinking

Coca Cola uses the sun to cool drinks

Coca Cola uses the sun to cool...
The Bio Cooler in sun-baked Aipir, Colombia
The Bio Cooler in sun-baked Aipir, Colombia
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A rendering of the Bio Cooler
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A rendering of the Bio Cooler
The Bio Cooler in sun-baked Aipir, Colombia
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The Bio Cooler in sun-baked Aipir, Colombia

In the town of Aipir, Colombia, the temperature can often get as high as 45ºC (113ºF), yet few of the residents have a reliable source of electricity. So, pulling an ice-cold beverage out of the fridge isn't really an option. Coca Cola and the Leo Burnett Colombia advertising agency therefore devised a "Bio Cooler" for the town – it reportedly chills cans of Coke, without using electricity.

The cooler was developed in collaboration with the International Physics Centre in Bogota, and is described solely in a short video released by Leo Burnett. It reportedly works by two methods ...

A rendering of the Bio Cooler
A rendering of the Bio Cooler

First, a compartment in the top of the cooler contains plants and soil, while the cans of Coke sit in a chamber below. When the plants are watered and much of that water subsequently evaporates, it has a cooling effect on the chamber.

Second, a mirror in the cooler focuses heat from the sun, which is somehow used to convert an unnamed gas to a liquid state, creating a cooling effect as that liquid is circulated around the Coke chamber. This could conceivably be something like a thermal-powered version of the CryoEnergy System, in which energy is stored by converting ambient-temperature gaseous air into cold liquid air.

Whatever's going on, you can see the Coca Cola Bio Cooler in use, in the video below.

Source: Leo Burnett Colombia (Vimeo) via Fast Company

The Coca-Cola Bio cooler

17 comments
LonnieRay
It's funny how this is what the last episode of Cosmos (ep. 12) said was the technology demonstrated at the World's Fair in what, 1935?
Calvin Hona
Does anyone else think that a better use for this technology is to truly help poor people with keeping fresh food cool rather than a sugary water concoction that will rot their beautiful teeth?
The Skud
You have to admire their sales pitch, but evaporative coolers (water wicking up a sacking exterior) and kerosene burner powered fridges (alternative heat, not electricity) have been around and keeping foodstuffs cool or cold for decades. Try a Google or Wikipedia search on Australian outback fridges for many examples.
docrob
Coca Cola won't be happy until every person on the planet has access to their sugary concoction that has far worse effects than tooth rotting. If it were invented now, it would likely be banned. Shame on you Coke!
Nairda
I second Calvin Hona
Who needs essentials for life in a hard world when you have Coca Cola..
Brazen AND culturally insensitive.
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is cool, pun intended.
If it can keep cans of Coca Cola cool, it could possibly be able to keep food cold too. Perhaps have food in can shaped containers that are stored in it like the cans of beverage?
While it is true that sugary beverages are made by Coca Cola (and a whole bunch of other companies), they also make Dasani, bottled water and other non-carbonated beverages.
owlbeyou
Surprised it doesn't have coke logos plastered all over it. So it rolls in to town and quenches the thirst of a bunch of folks with sugary drinks at a not-so-cold 10 degrees Celsius. Everybody is happy and content with the world. Aaah.
...for about 15 minutes.
Sergius
It is very common to use refrigerators which operate by the absorption process, instead of the compression process in all areas where there is no electricity. Typically, the heat produced is absorbed by the binary ammonia / water is usually supplied by burning kerosene. However, if it were discovered a nontoxic binary, internal combustion vehicles could have air conditioning systems, whose energy for the process was captured from the discharge manifold.
VirtualGathis
I can't believe their solution to cooling was to use water. Something places like this do not have enough of already. Of course they are probably the same folks who pour water on houses in the Arizona desert to cool them. It works, but consumes an already limited resource.
An absorption cooler, like propane R/V coolers, could to the same thing using focused sunlight as the heat source. The tech was developed in 1935. The only new twist is using evacuated solar tubes for the input heat source.
kellory
If you do not like CoKe, don't buy their products. As for me, it is the nectar of the Gods (right behind coffee) leave 'em alone. As for the cooler, good for them. Any advantage is an advantage. I'm quite sure it will be used for nearly everything except it's intended use. (I have neighbors who fill their heating ducts with possessions in the warm times, as if they were burying them in a hole.)
Propane powered fridges have been around a long time, so using a new heat source is a good idea, building off a proven product. Not a lot that can go wrong with it, simple to operate, as for the water, is is not likely to be potable water (drinking) anyways, and will lower the starting temp. ( though it would make sense to recycle it with a solar powered pump. Places like California, use %90 recycled/ filtered water in all commercial car-washes. It is not hard to do.)