ATLANTA — A new student design competition from ASHRAE is focused on taking advantage of today’s technology to provide simple, affordable solutions that benefit people around the world.

The 2013 Applied Engineering Challenge is for the design of a solar-powered (or powered by another renewable source) portable refrigeration unit with a holding volume of 1 cubic foot. This device could be used to transport small essential cargo (perishable foods, pharmaceuticals, organs, sensitive equipment, etc.). The temperature inside the box must be maintained at 25°F (or -4°C) continuously without an external power supply, in an ambient environment of 100°F (or 38°C). This device must be easily made anywhere in the world, especially in developing economies.

The new competition was developed under the 2012-13 ASHRAE theme, “Broadening ASHRAE’s Horizons,” by Tom Watson, ASHRAE fellow and president. The theme emphasizes the role of ASHRAE members as leaders in the application of sustainable design and practices in communities worldwide.

“I’m asking ASHRAE and the industry to look at technology that can be applied throughout the globe in applications that are simple, affordable, and easy to use,” Watson said. “Specifically with the Applied Engineering Challenge, we’re looking for technologies that can be built very inexpensively and effectively, and provide an immediate benefit to people around the world.”

Watson said he hopes to attract students from around the world at traditional engineering schools and also students at other institutions such as technical schools that may not have been heavily involved with ASHRAE.

The deadline for entry is June 2, 2013. For more information, visit

Publication date: 8/13/2012