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Science and Technology

Cincinnati solar solution to food problem in India

A Cincinnati invention will soon be on its way to India following months of marketing and development.

The product, still in the testing stages, is a 10-foot-long cold storage shed, something badly needed in India where nearly 40 percent of crops spoil before they get to market.

University of Cincinnati business professor Ilsa Hawkins and her students recognized a need for cold storage. They went to Mumbai (Ice Expo) with a brochure and a business plan.

"I have to say I've never had so many people interested in what we had to say. My business cards were gone by lunch."

The students contacted John Borchers and his neighbor, UC engineering professor Mohsen Rezayat.

"SolerCool actually started in my driveway. When he was showing me what he was doing with a water pump and a solar panel and I had a refrigeration system in my trunk."

This new company has a third partner, attorney Joe Dehner.

"It's kind of a triple win thing. This can be done for farmers who are not on the grid, which may be 30-40 percent of the country, because it's all solar powered and can really boost the incomes of some of the world's poorest people."

Dehner says this product could work in other countries. There's already been interest from Kuwait.