Print Email Facebook Twitter Solar refrigeration in rural West Bengal: Design of a product service system Title Solar refrigeration in rural West Bengal: Design of a product service system Author Van Genuchten, R.P. Contributor Smulders, F.E.H.M. (mentor) Crul, M.R.M. (mentor) Martens, J.R.J. (mentor) Faculty Industrial Design Engineering Department Product Innovation Management Programme Master of Science Strategic Product Design Date 2011-09-22 Abstract Solarbear is a refrigerator that cools with the heat of the sun only. This technology, more formally known as solar powered adsorption cooling, has been developed by two Industrial Design Engineering students as an affordable cooling solution for people that have no access to electricity or regular, more expensive, refrigeration. Having developed a working prototype and partnering up with incubator Enviu to start the business development, this graduation project was started to develop a thorough market entry strategy and business model. In preliminary research a focus at rural West-Bengal in India was chosen for field research into what would be the best market for which to further develop the technology. India has 400 million inhabitants that don’t have access to the electricity grid. The northeastern states, of which West-Bengal has the capital Calcutta, are the least developed ones with an average of 70% of the population depending on agriculture for their incomes. Furthermore the culture is one of long-term thinking, more so than the short-term oriented African countries. The uncertainty avoidance of the region is not as high as other Asian countries, which makes them adopt changes more easily.. Third, the humid and hot climate makes crops perish fast and other off-grid forms of cooling with evaporation unsuccessful. The specific choice of West-Bengal was also dependent on the location of a viable partner for the research, which was found in ONergy in Calcutta. To further specify the research question, from literature review and case studies the assumption was made that a product service system was needed to effectively implement the product in the market. This was because low-income (BoP) people that have little to spend might need personal economic value creation by buying the product to be able to afford it. What further came out, was that affordability and desirability was something different: a study into what people actually wanted to spend their scarce money on was also needed. All of this was summarized into the graduation assignment: Develop a locally valued product service system and supply chain for the Solarbear cooling technology in rural West Bengal, India. In seven weeks of local research seven potential target groups with value chains were identified, of which two were chosen for further concept development. In contrary to initial assumptions there was a direct demand for domestic fridges without having to set up income generation around it, and this was in fact a very attractive market. The other chosen group was small farmers, typically owning 0,5 to 1,5 hectares of land and producing different kinds of crops. Because of the lack of cooling now 30% of harvests perish because of lack of cold storage. Furthermore they are dependent on the prices offered by middlemen on the day of harvest, which makes them vulnerable to low prices and lacking a good bargaining position. Since from the on-site research also appeared that products have to be thoroughly tested with the users, it was chosen to develop both systems up to the level they could be technologically developed further and prepared for pilot testing. As a result a modular system came out of which parts will be produced in a factory and installed locally by the micro entrepreneurs that will be trained by ONergy, the local distributor. The modular system consists of a vacuum collector for on the roof, a pipe to connect collector and the rest of the system, and the cooling system itself. For the domestic fridge the refrigerator room consists of an existing fridge housing with a bigger condenser and evaporator built in. For the cold storage room the same collector and condenser and evaporators are used, but the amount will vary and the room will be built according to the required volume. A local installer will build it with the locally used clay walls but build an extra isolated cold chamber within with Styrofoam boards. The investment needed for this installation will come from a microloan with micro finance partner VSSU. By enabling people to have personal access to cooling, their quality of life will change, whether it be in health, time use or increase of income. The mission of the Solarbear is therefore bringing personal cooling to the base of the pyramid. Recommendations are to develop the product according to the requirements and start early field trials as soon as possible. When successfully developed, a pilot can be set up in Lakshmikantapur using VSSU facilities for warehousing and repairing. After evaluation sales can start with promotion campaigns and by training micro-entrepreneurs together with ONergy. Subject Product Service SystemBoPIndiaSolar refrigeration To reference this document use: http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:dc5195bb-800b-48ed-bff0-ba8402cf2d3f Access restriction Campus only Part of collection Student theses Document type master thesis Rights (c) 2011 Van Genuchten, R.P.