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(Archive) Efficiency for Access Design Challenge prototypes

Appliance prototypes for off-grid settings designed by teams of university students to help accelerate clean energy access.

This project was part of DDW 2021
Prototype of a solar hydroponic system — © Team 2020-12

Students participating in the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge developed prototypes for a range of innovative appliances used in agriculture, cooking, or healthcare, in low to middle income countries. The designs aim to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of existing appliances.


Delivered by Efficiency for Access with the support of Engineers Without Borders UK, the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge is a global, multi-disciplinary competition that empowers teams of university students to help accelerate clean energy access. It is funded by UK aid and the IKEA Foundation.

Now in its third year, the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge enables students to create affordable and energy-efficient appliances and technologies for low to middle income countries. By inspiring students, the Challenge aims to foster innovation in the off-grid appliance sector. The competition also seeks to improve the job prospects of participating students by giving them experience in designing appliances.

Throughout the year, the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge team ran webinars, networking and interactive events for students, which aimed to enhance their understanding of the off-grid appliance sector. Student teams were also paired with experts in the off-grid appliance sector who provided them with structured guidance to create their projects.


Student teams from 13 universities in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Uganda, and the United Kingdom developed projects that focused on technologies including water pumps, grain mills, vegetable dryers, hydroponic systems, electric cooking, water purification, vaccine refrigeration, oxygen concentrators, solar home systems or cooling.

Student teams were able to create digital or physical prototypes of their ideas.

The students approached their designs from a project-based learning lens and considered innovation, social and scalability criteria. The designs not only seek to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 7 – Affordable and clean energy access, but also work towards other SDGs.


The exhibition showcases a selection of the prototypes created by 23 student teams from the following 13 universities in Europe, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa:

Gulu University (Uganda)
Independent University, Bangladesh (Bangladesh)
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Kenya)
Loughborough University (UK)
Makerere University (Uganda)
Moi University (Kenya)
Swansea University (UK)
TERI School of Advanced Studies (India)
University of Bristol (UK)
University of Nairobi (Kenya)
University of Strathclyde (UK)
University of Bath (UK)

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Prototype of a solar grain mill — © Team 2020-17

Prototype of a kettle — © Team 2020-28

Prototype of a solar fish dryer