The fridge is actually an Australian invention. James Harrison built the first commercial fridge as an ice-maker in Geelong. Since then fridges have become a ubiquitous feature of every home – but that doesn’t mean that refrigerator innovation has stopped.
A recent invention is a door inside your fridge that you can store often-used items. Think of it as a fridge within a fridge. The benefit of this design is that it avoids letting warm air into the rest of your fridge, saving you energy.
Antimicrobial drawers are another recent innovation. BY using microbe inhibiting technology the growth of bacteria and fungus is hindered, keeping your food fresh for longer. Some fridges have also had special lights fitted to the fresh produce drawers. These lights promise to mimic the effect of the sun and keep fresh food from starting to decay.
There’s even research being done into a refrigerator with no moving parts and no energy usage at all. Instead, the idea is to use a bio-polymer gel which holds food and prevents microbial growth. It looks like nothing more than a giant panel of jelly with bits of food stuck in it.
At the other end of the tech spectrum, a remarkably effective low-tech solution to electricity supply problems has been proving remarkably useful in India. In order to deal with blackouts that can sometimes last days at a time, Mansukhbhai Prajapati developed a fridge that can keep food cool with only water. The fridge is made of clay and has two shelves for keeping food. Above this is a compartment that contains water which then drips down the sides of the fridge. As the water evaporates, it whisks away heat, cooling the food contained within. It may be low-tech, but it works!