In Association with

for INDECO: An Integrated Desalination & Cooling System for Low-Cost, Off-Grid Freshwater & Cold Storage

Gayatri Sundur Rajan being presented with her Award of £20,000 by Warren East, CBE with Chair of Tech4All Giles Keating and Master Engineer Raymond Joyce [photo courtesy of Mark Witter Photography]

Gayatri is a DPhil Researcher at the University of Oxford and she is developing a highly innovative integrated engineering response to the problems of cold storage and water supply in rural areas of developing countries.

INDECO is a low-cost, off-grid integrated desalination and cold storage system designed to provide clean water from contaminated groundwater and cold storage for agricultural products in rural regions of developing countries. By utilizing evaporative and solar cooling, INDECO integrates renewable energy, simultaneous clean water and cooling capacity, and low-cost available consumables. INDECO will alleviate poverty by increasing the revenue of small farmers by up to 17% due to food saved from wastage, providing business for local engineering companies in upkeep and maintenance, and improving access to affordable clean water and nutritious foods. The Innovation For All Award will help the team retire technological risks, build a minimum viable product, and set the foundation for enabling water security, food security, and poverty alleviation by empowering local farmers, business owners, and communities.

800 million people globally do not have access to basic drinking water. 300 million tons of food (enough for 444 million people) is lost annually due to lack of post-harvest refrigeration in developing countries. The judges recognised the vital importance of the issue being addressed, and its relevance to the alleviation of poverty, and were impressed by the elegance of the engineering behind the concept and the potential impact if it can be deployed at scale. More refinement and market research is required but the judges were unanimous in wishing to see the award being used to take this exciting concept closer to market.

A new charitable grant launched in 2023, made by the Worshipful Company of Engineers and UK-based charity for the most creative engineering-based solutions to the alleviation of poverty.

The Worshipful Company of Engineers Charitable Trust (the Engineers Trust) acknowledges excellence in engineering, supports engineering education and research, gives grants and assists in the relief of poverty.

Since its inception in 1996 has led a variety of charitable and social enterprise projects.