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Modeling of Heat and Mass Transfer of Evaporative Cooling Devices for Improved Vegetable Storage in Low-Income Rural Communities




EC: Edgerton Center

Faculty Supervisor:

Eric Verploegen

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Eric Verploegen, ericv@mit.edu, 617-947-9762

Project Description

Project Description: We are looking for a student to help develop a heat and mass transfer model of low-cost evaporative cooling devices for improving vegetable storage in Africa and India. When affordable and effective post-harvest storage solutions are not available or affordable, people living in off-grid rural communities will often experience vegetable spoilage, loss of income, lack of access to nutritious foods, and large amounts of time spent purchasing vegetables. Evaporative cooling devices have the potential to provide a low-cost, local available, and effective solution for improving vegetable shelf life The goal of the model is to identify how specific design variations impact the performance of the evaporative cooling devices and enable organizations that produce and promote these technologies to optimize designs for maximum performance and minimum cost. The combined heat and mass transfer model will be refined and validated with both experimental data that has been previously collected in Mali and experiments that will be conducted on campus during the semester. The project will have potential follow-on travel opportunities in (Uganda, Kenya, or India) to test viable prototypes in the field, as well as to continue on the project for multiple semesters. Interested candidates should email ericv@mit.edu with a brief explanation of why they are interested in this project and describe any relevant previous experience. Relevant URL: https://d-lab.mit.edu/research/food/evaporative-cooling-vegetable-preservation/performance-and-design-research


Prerequisites: Applicants should have an interest in practical solutions to global poverty challenges. A background in thermodynamics and heat transfer, and experience using Matlab is required. Experience with heat transfer modeling is preferred. Students that have taken 2.051, 10.302, or a comparable course will have the relevant background.