Clean Energy Access for Sub-Saharan Africa

Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has awarded Free Running Buildings £650,000 to develop and manufacture Freecool+ – Adapting Passive Ventilation and Zero-Energy Cooling for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The project is supported by world-leading experts from the Building Environment Group at the University of Hull in addition to humanitarian aid organisations and energy consultancy and social enterprise firms currently operating within Kenya.


Based on state-of-the-art technology solutions developed by Free Running Buildings for markets in the Far East, FREECOOL+ will be adapted to provide a lower-cost, efficient, zero-energy alternative to mechanically ventilated air conditioning systems.

FREECOOL+ is an innovative, passive air-cooling system housed within a roof-mounted wind tower. It uses heat pipes and a cold sink to continually cool incoming air to provide fresh air supply and cool environments by up to 15 degrees Celsius.

The resulting impact entails far-reaching social, economic, health and environmental benefits. In the short term this will include delivering heightened thermal comfort and optimum air quality in schools, healthcare facilities and office complexes in Kenya’s refugee camps. In the medium term, it is expected that uptake of the commercialised product will extend to Kenya’s dominantly rural population and enter the hospitality and tourism industry. Longer term, the uptake of passive technology and development of this market in Sub-Saharan Africa, will reduce CO2 emissions and align with Kenya’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

Ruby Hughes, Technical Director at FRB explains

This is an exciting international collaboration and challenge that will expand the development of Freecool+ into a new area and play a vital role in proving clean energy access to parts of Kenya and beyond.



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