The damage from natural disasters, such as hurricanes, can impact lives long after the storm has passed. Families rebuilding after a storm should not need to worry about having their lifesaving medication. Medical organizations have found the lack of refrigeration to keep insulin, and other medicine, cool as a leading cause of death following hurricanes. Therefore, we developed a cooling system for these medications without grid power.
To keep these medications usable, they need to be between 2°C - 8°C according to their storage instructions. An everyday cooler can meet this range, but only for a few hours without an added cooling source. A generator or extremely large battery could power a refrigerator but would not be practical for the public. Thus, because of the lack of a grid power, using the least power is just as crucial as cooling. With this in mind, we found that a thermoelectric unit (TEC) is the best way to keep the internal temperature of the cooler in the goal range. A mix of batteries and solar energy powers our TEC. This will keep the medicine in range until power returns.
After trying many ideas, our final design uses a simple cooler body with an attached TEC unit, added insulation, and three airtight locking drawers. These drawers both protect and contain each vial separately within the cooler. Our design gives the user peace of mind in times of a natural disaster. It not only spares users the cost of replacing medicine, but also prevents medical emergencies, and save lives.