The national standards body of India, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has developed an Indian Standard for ‘non-electric cooling cabinet made of clay,’ to recognise clay refrigerators made in India.
The new BIS standard, IS 17693: 2022, specifies the construction and performance requirements of the cooling cabinet made out of clay, called Mitticool. A ‘frugal innovation’ widely covered for now a decade globally, the refrigerator is an innovation of Mansukh Bhai Prajapati from Gujarat. The eco-friendly technology is based on the principle of evaporative cooling and can be used to store perishable foodstuff without electricity.
The new standard will help BIS in fulfilling 6 out of 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely No poverty, Zero hunger, Gender equality, Affordable and clean energy, Industry, innovation, and infrastructure, and Responsible consumption and production, said the ministry of consumer affairs, food & public distribution in an official statement on June 16.
Mitticool, An Indian Innovation
Using clay or pottery for cooing is an ancient practice. Clay pots have been an integral part of Indian kitchens until factory-made products of a variety of materials invaded the market. The material was smartly used by Prajapati in refrigeration, a demand of tropical countries like India to prevent bacterial growth and increase the shelf life of perishable products. Upgrading traditional cooling with products like Mitticool also serves the other requirements of being economical in terms of cost and power consumption. Having said that, the BIS, in its statement, clarifies that these clay cabinets are not suitable to preserve the foodstuff which is required to be stored in a frozen state.
Mitticool has now become more than just a natural refrigerator clay used to store vegetables, fruits and milk, and cool water, without any electric power supply. Many believe it to be a saviour of the Indian ceramics industry.
The efficacy of the product is boundless, insists the ministry in its statement. “To name a few, it is playing an influential role in reviving the pottery culture, tradition, and heritage; connecting people back to roots in better healthier ways; promoting sustainable consumption; economically empowering the indigent community; working towards green and cool earth, economic development and employment generation; and finally contributing towards rural women upliftment and making them financially independent,” the statement adds.
The product has stood the test of time. First exhibited at the 4th batch of Innovations Scholars In-residence Programme held at Rashtrapati Bhawan (2017) in partnership with the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), a body responsible for scouting, supporting and swelling grassroots innovations from people and communities in any technological field.
Now, with the standard mark, Mitticool has the assurance of conformity of BIS, giving confidence to consumers about the quality, safety and reliability of the product.