Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Zuhura Solutions

Solar-powered street carts for food vendors

Food & Drink

The novel trolley will stop vendors from relying on harmful charcoal to keep their food warm

Spotted: Street vendors are a big part of Kenyan culture and a significant source of livelihood for many Kenyans, particularly in the capital, Nairobi. But, for some 100,000 street food vendors in the city, it can be both economically challenging and environmentally damaging to keep food at the right temperature. Many vendors rely on charcoal, which releases high levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and pollutants.

Instead, Nairobi-based startup Zuhura Solutions has introduced the Halisi Trolley, a solar-powered vending car that allows food to be kept warm for longer using an alternative, clean energy source.  

The stored solar energy is converted into heat that freely warms the food to ensure it’s kept at the necessary temperature for safe eating. Surplus energy that is generated powers LED lights, so vendors can sell them for hours into the night. There are also charging ports that can be used to power customers’ mobile phones at an extra cost – allowing vendors to easily earn additional income. 

Zuhura sells adverting space on the carts to fund its production and subsidised the final cost for vendors. The startup only uses durable, high-quality materials to create the carts, which are available in customised or modular versions, or can be sold in bulk.  

The startup offers vendors a flexible pay-as-you-go plan of $80 (around €73) a month with a 10 per cent initial down payment. Zuhura also connects vendors with technicians who can quickly service their trolleys in the event of a malfunction. 

Food insecurity is a growing concern, particularly for areas without the infrastructure to store produce safely. Springwise has spotted many innovations working to ease this pressure, including a solar-powered refrigerator to cut food spoilage for fishermen and farmers, and another sustainable refrigeration unit that can generate continuous refrigeration for up to four days.

Written By: Anam Alam




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