Ice from the Sunshine: Made in your Country, Engineered in Germany

Solar-powered Ice Block Production with SelfChill Made in Africa – a Proven Technology and a promising Business Model

by Julian Krüger, February 2021

Looking for climate resilient business opportunities that support local African products? The following might be worth a closer look!

Enourmous potential for solar energy, high demand for reliable cold chains and the prevalence of smallholder farmers are to be found in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our Germany-based cooperation SelfChill® offers key components and know-how that allow manufacturing of cooling appliances locally, avoiding costly imports, creating local jobs and enabling Solar Cooling “Made in your Country”.

Not only can the SelfChill® technology be used for ice making but also for refrigerators, cold rooms, room cooling and milk cooling systems. All systems run on their own solar power plant or can smartly be integrated into an existing minigrid.

In Sub-Saharan Africa estimated 30-50% of agricultural production is lost at various points along the value chain. Solar energy enables reliable cooling supply, reduce food losses, enables agricultural businesses, extend shelf life and ultimately the chance to grow. Selling mangoes in Mali in the off-season can come with a profit!

One of the most promising systems is the SelfChill® Ice Maker: Ice from freshwater is an excellent energy storage for the cold. By the lakeshores and coastlines, the SelfChill® ice maker keeps fish fresh, guaranteeing to keep quality and satisfy buyer requirements.

In places of demand for ice, the bottleneck is often unreliable and expensive electricity. Conventional ice machines powered by solar require costly inverters, and need a high peak demand. Containerized industrial scale products  come with a huge hunger for energy. The niche of cooling for smallholder farmer is neglected! Our innovative approache brings a solution:

Being completely off-grid, batteries and only 4 PV panels with 350 W peak each are enough to produce 50 kg ice blocks every day by using a simple, but effective salt-water principle. Night times and cloudy days are bridged by batteries and by the internal cold storage. Considering the local prices for ice in remote areas, our experiences show that the system pays off in less than two years. Pay-as-you-Go ready technology allows easy financial access for low-income households.

Our Ice Makers are easily scalable to higher production, allowing growth with your business.

The Ice Maker final product has successfully been custom-built according to individual needs by our partners in Kenya and Mali, using locally sourced material, leading to a deep understanding for operation and maintenance by the owner.

Become a partner and get in touch with SelfChill at

A cooperation of Phaesun, Solar Cooling Engineering and University of Hohenheim.