Biogas Milk Chiller wins OpenIDEO's Agricultural Innovation Challenge

Biogas Milk Chiller wins OpenIDEO's Agricultural Innovation Challenge

How might we improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers by reducing food waste and spoilage?

This was the question put forward by OpenIDEO, an open innovation platform that encourages the global community to solve big challenges for social good. In response, more than 400 ideas were submitted, among which the pioneering Biogas-Powered Milk Chiller designed by SimGas in cooperation with SNV, Mueller BV and BoPInc for the joint 'Milk chilling with biogas' project in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia.

As SimGas explained on OpenIDEO, "the Biogas Milk Chiller provides off-grid biogas-powered milk cooling on-farm, allowing smallholder dairy farmers without access to electricity to store and sell the highest possible quality of raw milk and increase their income. This bottom-up approach is new to the dairy industry; instead of focusing on the top of the cold chain - the processors - we focus on filling the gap at the bottom, where the problem originates: at the dairy farmers."

We are now happy to announce that the Biogas Milk Chiller is one of the 5 winning ideas! Contributors of the ideas will join the IDEO.org team for a design bootcamp in the coming months, and will join the Amplify portfolio for the next 18 months.

The Biogas Milk Chiller is a great development for the dairy sector in areas not yet connected to the electricity grid. In many regions of Eastern Africa, smallholder dairy farmers have limited access to market for their evening milk produce, as most of them simply live too far from the milk collection centre. When delivering the milk the following morning, farmers face the risk of getting the milk rejected, which results in loss of income. The Biogas Milk Chiller is solving this problem, helping farmers increase their revenues. As part of the 'Milk chilling with biogas' project, SimGas is responsible for the product design, field testing and commercialisation; SNV for market analysis, training and promotion; Mueller for sector expertise and commercialization; and BoPInc for the business strategy.

OpenIDEO is a platform developed in partnership with the UK Department for International Development (DFID). It promotes an international development model based on synergy and creativity, with people from all around world collaboratively tackling some of the toughest global issues.