The access to electricity in the rural areas of Uganda often is deficient. This affects especially milk farmers, whose productivity and income are impacted negatively due to the lack of cooling options for their produce.
Based on an innovation by the University of Hohenheim, Wamala Energy developed WE Coolers, a mobile solar-powered cooling system that produces ice cubes. The core idea is to enable farmers to cool their milk with ice cubes, which are produced with electricity generated by solar panels. These ice cubes allow the cooling of large quantities of milk, without the need for large cold storages and can be flexibly used during transport. Wamala enables the farmers to operate and maintain the off grid system themselves. The system is not restricted to cooling milk, but can be applied for the conservation of other produce such as fish.
Wamala Energy receives a share of the additional revenue that the farmers earn due to the cooling system keeping the milk fresh longer and enabling cooled transportation. The market can be extended to many other farmers and producers, such as fishers.
In May 2019, Wamala Energy was founded as a corporation in Uganda. In July, the market pilot started with two farmers. In the first year of operation, already 10.000 litres of their milk have been cooled. Within a cooperation with a local NGO, capacity building e.g. through technical trainings are currently being conducted in Uganda. The team is in contact and preparing a cooperation with a network of 400 farmer cooperatives.
Wamala Energy participated in the Climate Launchpad (CLP) innovation challenge and emerged 3rd at the national finals, in 2020. They represented Uganda at the regional finals competing with other 8 African countries and were defeated in the semi-finals. With the financial support received from the CLP they were able to pilot their business model with another two milk farmers.
Currently, Wamala Energy is looking into streamlining their technology and relying on local supply for production to make WE Coolers cheaper and more accessible.
WE coolers is able to increas farmers' revenues by 25% by preventing spoilage. WE's cooling solution reduces the potential for microbial contamination and increases rural hygienic standards through increasing milk's shelf life, thereby preventing food losses. At the same time, the solar-powered ice production helps meet rural energy demand and reduces carbon emissions.
e.Ray Europe, Uganda Wind Association, Uganda HydroPower Association, greentec capital advisors