Zero electricity air-con made of plastic bottles

BANGLADESH • Bangladesh is predicted to be among South Asian countries most affected by a rise in global average temperatures in the coming decades.

Its rural population, which stands at more than 60 per cent, is especially vulnerable to this. Unlike the urban population, people in rural areas do not have access to air-conditioning units.

But Grey Dhaka, the Bangladesh arm of US-based advertising and marketing agency Grey Group, may have found an answer. Last year, it launched the Eco-Cooler, the world's first "zero electricity" air-conditioner, invented by an employee, Mr Ashis Paul.

In a country where access to electricity in rural areas is limited, the Eco-Cooler can be considered as something of a miracle.

More than 70 per cent of Bangladesh's population live in corrugated tin houses which amplify the sun's energy. During summer, the scorching heat can get unbearable with temperatures as high as 45 deg C.

Today, more than 25,000 households around the country have an Eco-Cooler. Being a developing country, Bangladesh faces a host of economic, social and environmental challenges which require out-of-the-box solutions. For these solutions to have a considerable impact, they need to be simple, cheap and efficient.

The Eco-Cooler checks all the boxes and perhaps that is the reason behind its widespread success.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2017, with the headline 'Zero electricity air-con made of plastic bottles'. Print Edition | Subscribe