Energy from the sun to refrigerate pineapple in Benin

We signed a major contract for the turnkey supply in Q3 2018 of a 100% solar-powered cold room at the Cotonou airport site in Benin.

The contract is part of the PINEX (Pineapple for Export) project, led by the US-based NGO Partners For Development. Funding comes from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since the end of 2015, it aims to develop the pineapple sector in Benin, the third largest producer in West Africa. This happen through training and technical assistance to producers and processors (fresh pineapple, natural juices and dried fruits) along 3 axes:

  • Quality improvement,
  • Increased productivity
  • Export growth

This 110m3 cold room will refrigerate daily 12 tons of pineapple awaiting departure for Europe. It will be powered by a 40 kW solar plant, with a photovoltaic surface of approximately 250 m². The original design of the chosen FREECOLD offer is based on quality components of exclusively European origin :

  • solar panels,
  • modular cold room,
  • refrigeration units,
  • energy conversion,
  • batteries,
  • etc.

This contract combines two strong issues in Benin:

  • The need of cold for preservation and storage of agricultural products, while 40% of crops are lost in sub-Saharan Africa for lack of means of conservation
  • Access to energy: the country is one of the least developed and does not have access to cheap and abundant sources of electricity from hydropower or natural gas. Benin is also targeting a national electrification rate of 36% in 2020, thanks in particular to photovoltaic plants.

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