Student's vaccine cooler wins UK James Dyson Award

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Media captionWilliam Broadway explains how the vaccine cooler he designed works

A portable cooling device for vaccines which could save millions of lives in developing countries has won the James Dyson award for UK design innovation.

William Broadway invented the ISOBAR device as part of his final year project at Loughborough University.

The industrial design and technology graduate received £2,000 to develop his prototypes.

He will compete against entries from 22 countries to win the international James Dyson award and £30,000.

How does ISOBAR work?

Image copyright Loughborough University
  • Most vaccine coolers freeze the vaccine which causes it to lose potency but Mr Broadway's maintains a stable temperature
  • A mix of ammonia and water is heated in a lower pressure vessel, causing the ammonia to vaporise and separate from the water
  • It remains trapped in the upper chamber by a valve until the cooling effect is needed
  • The device is then flipped over, causing the chemicals to recombine and give a cooling effect

Mr Broadway, 22, said: "Winning the UK James Dyson Award gives me the confidence to pursue my invention with my whole heart in the knowledge that yes, I can actually make this device, and that it could have a great impact for the benefit of thousands of people."

He came up with the idea partly while on a surfing trip.

"I was surfing in Mexico and we were taking a five day trip out and we had 13kg of ice [with us] and I thought this is stupid, we have propane burners, is there not some way we can use that energy in the right way?" he said.

"So I just looked up old fashioned refrigeration methods and found a really neat one used for rural farmers without access to electricity and just took it from there."

Image copyright Loughborough University
Image caption William Broadway has received £2,000 to develop his invention

He said the device could also be used for organ donation, blood transplants and stem cell research.

One of the judges, Raspberry Pi co-founder and chairman Jack Lang, said: "ISOBAR is a brilliant invention. It solves a real problem and is a complete, well-thought-through system."

In 2014, another Loughborough University graduate, James Roberts, the international won the international James Dyson Award for his inflatable incubator for babies born prematurely.

Image copyright MOm
Image caption Fellow Loughborough graduate James Roberts won the international James Dyson award for his inflatable incubator

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