Press Release 31/05/2023
Farmer Charlie and Direct Impact Partners win Energy Catalyst 9 grant from Innovate UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
London, 31 May 2023. London-based Farmer Charlie Ltd and Côte d’Ivoire Direct Impact Partners (brand name: Cool Lion Energies) have won an Innovate UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) competition. The grant will support the partners with the development of their Cool Mangoes project, following the Energy Catalyst Round 9 competitive call that took place last year. Cool Mangoes launched on the 1st of March 2023.
Cool Mangoes is aimed at bringing refrigerated containers to small farming cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire. Cool Lion Energies will provide container units that will be equipped with Farmer Charlie’s sensors to monitor cooling temperature and humidity for ideal storage conditions. Both partners rely on the support and collaboration of the local Wopinin-Wognon cooperative, based in the Tchologo region of the country. The cooperative includes more than two hundred farmers, and its involvement brings in-depth knowledge of the growers’ challenges in the area.
The eleven-month demonstrator project will inform the next iterations and improvements required in scaling the innovative cooling-as-a-service solution. The installation will also serve as a visitor centre for other cooperative leaders, with the aim of securing additional deployment and scale the partners’ presence in the country and beyond.
The project is unique in the provision of refrigerated solutions to smallholder farmers and the integration of sensors and digital equipment to improve their experience. It is expected to demonstrate the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the solution and will be advertised to attract interest from other cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries.
IUK public funding has been crucial to the implementation of the partners’ integrated solution, which will otherwise take much longer to realise in terms of resources that both SMEs would struggle to obtain. Funding will also help absorb potential risks linked to the trial nature of the project, both in terms of planning and of technology adoption.