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Caja Fria- Energy free terracotta refrigerator

Winner of Engineer's Without Borders Grand Challenge and People's Prize

Caja Fria is a domestic product produced from terracotta, it utilises the natural cooling properties through the pores in the terracotta when in contact with water. Not only keeping food inside cool but providing safe and cold drinking water without the need for the water to be boiled first. Through being a standalone product using ancient, tried and test methods, Caja Fria does not rely on any power sources, allowing the limited energy sources to be used elsewhere and the goods inside being kept at safe temperatures regardless of power outages.

The contextual enquiry involved truly empathising with residents of Lobitos whose homes are not designed with proper cooling systems, and solutions for cooling expensive and non-feasible. The idea is to create a solution that reduces their energy consumption, therefore reducing their daily expenses. Keeping in mind the society's clear non-acceptance and rigidity towards foreign objects and culture influence, the product was inspired by ancient Peruvian pottery and uses locally available terracotta.


During the initial exploration, a variety of ideas were explored and analysed for suitability and convenience.

A breakfast cereal dispensing system was selected to be developed further. This choice was backed by research and an understanding of consumer patterns.

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