How to Make a Local Fridge using Charcoal(english version),Engeri yokukolamu fridge yamanda (luganda version)

Compiled by Karamagi Akiiki Ednah

Step 1 Identify a suitable location for your fridge. It does not matter whether it is under the sunshine or a shade. What is most important is that you choose a location where you do not have to shift the fridge from place to place – this is a permanent structure.

Step 2 Determine the size of you fridge that you want to construct.

Step 3 Erect a double wire mesh boundary with at least a sizeable width within.

Step 4 Pack large charcoal particles in between while filling the gaps with smaller charcoal particles. Avoid use of charcoal dust because it will pollute your food.

Step 5 For the base, use mud; and for the roof, use dry grass. Do not use wire mesh or charcoal for the base or roof construction.

Step 6 Do not forget to put a door to keep away animals and thieves.

Step 7 Also, you have to be mindful that you have to pour water on this charcoal to maintain the cool temperatures within. You can either do this manually or automatically using constructed structures similar to those used in Drip Irrigation. The pouring of water can be done continuously or at a time depending on weather condition outside. The higher the temperatures, the more the water required.

An interesting concept I came across was one used by farmers in western Uganda. Their fridges are much smaller both in width, length and height. These women farmers place a bucket full of water on top of the “fridge”; hanging from the bucket onto the charcoal edges are deep thick wicks (like those of a lantern). The logic is that the wicks suck water and drip it on the charcoal, thereby cooling it.

Charcoal is used as it is a good coolant. Wet charcoal does not allow easy passage of heat thus resulting into low temperature inside. Also, use of water on the charcoal is to minimize charcoal dust. Charcoal is made of wood which by nature do not transmit heat easily. Also, charcoal has pore spaces which absorb and store water inside, this reduces heat passing from outside.

On the other hand, because charcoal comes from trees, use of charcoal only contributes to environmental degradation; which is disastrous to our environment. It grossly affects the climatic condition of an area, as well as the soil. It is important therefore that you seek legal country permission and guidance before you undertake this project. Also, you can start an active tree planting campaign.

Special thanks to the following that enabled me compile this article
To CoRFiLAC, for inciting the curiosity in me. It all stemmed from need for a fridge so that the local persons also can make traditional cheese for both personal food nutrition and market consumption.

To Simbo N Ntiro, a member of the C3Net dgroup, where I posted the article; he picked it up and forwarded it to ethink tank and Tanzania gateway, both Tanzanian based dgroups.

To Athumani Mlinga who attended the Farmers’ Day Exhibitions (Nane Nane) in Morogoro (Tanzania); saw this cooling concept from The National Service pavilion made of charcoal into a small hut and agreed to share it with me. He also traced and found the actual person that makes the fridge, Winifrida Bhoke Matutu

To Winifrida Bhoke Matutu is from Ilala Municipal Council (Tanzania) and actually makes the local charcoal fridge. She is a horticulturist dealing with advising farmers on good methods of cultivating flowers, fruits, vegetables, and making land scalping.

1.Funa ekifo ekisaana okuteekamu fridge ebweru oba munda mu kasana oba mukasikirize.Fridge eno si yakujja mukifo

2.Salawo obunene bwa fridge gyoyagala

3.Zimba akatimba ng;okazinzemu emirundi ebiri mu makati nga wajaayo Amanda.beera ngazimba akayumba akatono nga mumakati mulimu emiti

4.Pakira Amanda amanene mu makati gakatimba,amabanga agasigadde ojjuzewo amatono.Tokozesa vvu

5.Wansi teekayo ettaka waggulu osseyo essubi ekkalu.Tekako oluggi okuziyiza ababbi

6.Oluvannyuma mu manda yiwamu amazzi buli kaseera okusobola okukuuma fridge nga ennyogoga

7.Oba osobola okuddira akalobo akalimu amazzi n’okassa waggulu nekaleebeeta noterezaamu entambi ne zitonnya mu fridge buli kaseera


53 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for this.My simple advice is that instead of cutting down trees,one can make charcoal out of banana peels.

    I guess its a very good alternative and quiet environmental friendly.

    Maria Nakirya


  2. Posted by John Karuma on July 23, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    it’s good development in a country with load shedding please give me more details


  3. What kind of information do you want here?
    Maybe we follow this up using email.


  4. I would like to receive a fully drawn plan on this as well as a few pictures.


  5. Hallo Lesley
    Next week the CELAC farmers from each of the 17 districts where we are sofar are going to make one at our Development Center in Mayuge … this will be documented and pictures taken at each of the stages of development. I will definitely avail to you the link where this will be uploaded.


  6. Posted by Joan Brockman on September 3, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    I’m also interested in exact plans for this fridge. Would like, if possible, to arrange for a training session for some women so they could have hands-on experience and go on to teach others. Am living in Kampala. Want to introduce local women to low-cost income-generating projects.


  7. Joan,thanks for this initiative.You could visit our project website for phone contacts when you are ready to make arrangements.


  8. Posted by Daithí on October 15, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Great article,
    But I think you overstate the environmental degradation. Low temperature charcoal, which maximises the carbon content, is actually one form of Carbon Sequestration. If you don’t burn it, it stores Carbon in a stable way. In the ground, Charcoal can lock up C02 for 2,000 years, and it creates a phenonmally rich soil that doesn’t degrade with planting. What’s more, over time it absorbs more carbon. Check out Terra Preta on Wikipedia:

    Ideally, of course, you would replace trees with new plantings, but using unburned charcoal is not all negative, there’s quite a healthy positive too.


  9. Nze mbela Entebbe nkozentya okumanya kunteketeke
    ze misomo gyamwe naddala egyo egyikwatagana no
    kukamula omubisi okuva mubibala ebenjawulo?
    Mbebazizanyo byemukola okutumbula embela
    zabantu nokukulakulanya amaka. Nze Nasana T


  10. You have tought us how to make Charcoal frigde. Good
    My request is to teach me how to make charcoal
    form charcoal dust (olusenyente). I have too
    much of it, but I want to utilize it in another
    form for the good of the environment.


  11. Posted by Victor muhia on January 10, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks for the easy instructions on the fridge ive made a fridge which works wounders without much expence.victor


  12. This is very interesting to read and appropriate to rual commuties where electricity is lacking. Am going to try it out following the steps given. My request to Celac is to post a picture of the fridge.


  13. Posted by njolimaconcepta on April 19, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    pli show the image of a fridge and the methods how to make it all in photoes\’s intresting


  14. Thanks Njoli for the comment. We will provide a digital story for this post.



  15. Check out the evapocooler which is another alternative for rural africa which has been invented to cool camel milk in Somalia


  16. […] knows how to make charcoal fridges. After carrying out extensive tests on evaporative coolers in hot arid Burao, Somaliland, with day […]


  17. Posted by rea on December 12, 2008 at 5:18 am

    can I ask a question?
    is it true that all kinds of tree that can be made a charcoal may treat diseases?


  18. […] Not Ranked  :  +0 / -0  0 score      Local Fridge For those of you interested in making a traditional fridge as suggested by hack77, here is a helpful link How to Make a Local Fridge using Charcoal(english version),Engeri yokukolamu fridge yamanda (luganda… […]


  19. Posted by Leni Solitei on January 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I am a horticultural farmer in Kenya growing tomatoes, and would like to receive more information on your Charcol Greenhouses.


  20. Posted by Werner on March 6, 2010 at 9:42 pm


    Bij het lezen van alle stappen voor het maken van een houtskool koelkast, was ik vrolijk door het taalgebruik.
    Het is zeker een super idee en ik ben er zelf ook mee aan het expirimenteren.
    Toen ik onderaan de waarschuwing las om niet zomaar houtskool te verzamelen omdat jullie onvoldoende bomen hebben, besefte ik weer eens hoe onverdeeld de wereld is.
    Wij in België hebben dit alles in overvloed en schrikken dus bij dit idee.
    Ik wens jullie veel succes en voorspoed toe met alle projecten.

    Vriendelijke groeten,


  21. Posted by Pastor Nkurunziza on May 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Hi,am very much interested in following up your project,please may you give a structural diagram with the steps on the diagram?this can help me.otherwise i thank you for sharing with us your in kist in RWANDA.


  22. Posted by Olfert on May 13, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Binding carbon in solid form as charcoal, will prevent its presence as carbon dioxide.

    This should be beneficial.

    How effective are these fridges?


  23. This is an awesome idea! Can’t wait to try it…

    The Tuckerbag


  24. Its realy encouraging to me that such a local but very vital technology exists.Thanks very much for sharing with us such an interesting idea.I think am gona try out here in Masindi for my vegetables…….


  25. Posted by masaba joseph in jinja on October 19, 2011 at 8:12 am

    thanks for this local technology in Uganda. is it a must that this fridge has to be built out side the house or it can also be constructed inside the house?
    secondly it would have been better it you posted a sample structured diagram of the same for easy understanding.
    i will be very grateful for your consideration


  26. Posted by Irene Moonga on January 3, 2012 at 10:02 am

    very impressed with this technology. Is it possible for you to avail to me with the diagram and instructions on how i can construct it.


  27. Posted by George Schilling on January 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    WOuld you kindly email a diagram, or a picture and the details of construction so we can try to build it in my village in Mgeta, Tanzania.


  28. Full plans and designs are available in this publication:


  29. Posted by Olatunji ridwan on May 1, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Pls i will like to get full details report on the project as well as pictures.thanks


  30. Posted by Olatunji ridwan on May 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Need full details on the project


  31. Posted by tanana on May 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm



  32. i rily love this stuff


  33. Posted by mubanda stephen on December 5, 2013 at 9:51 am

    this is soo good


  34. Posted by Dancan on February 23, 2014 at 10:39 am

    very interesting


  35. Posted by kisur wero kisur on May 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    wonderful idea. this will help the unprivileged to construct a fridge


  36. Posted by chawana on May 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    i like it i think of mading one would help me on the material
    plz send me the material used


  37. Posted by Atto Beatricel on June 23, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    it’s really wounderfull,i would like to have apicture, or any rough copy


  38. Posted by Ignatius Wasike on August 21, 2014 at 6:16 am

    Impressive.At threateningly rising cost of living,this is what most people need.Entrepreneurs ought to take this up and offer a life-long solution to the society.


  39. Posted by Nancy August on October 16, 2014 at 9:22 am

    hey this stuff is amazing….
    am researching on a portable charcoal fridge to improve its efficiency


  40. Posted by valentine on November 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Hi am an extension officer in Zambia, I really liked this technology and would love to introduce it to my farmers. kindly e.mail the pictures of the fridge


  41. Posted by Jane Ezenwanne on November 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    pls i will like to see the structural views and also the design consideration. thanks.


  42. […] for Oak, the countryside would be reforested to provide sufficient fuel for stoves and heating (and charcoal for cooling in sunny places). This forest cover would help massively to reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere […]


  43. Thanks this is a Great stride for us the small farmers.can u kindly pho Post me the pictures and the right Desighn of s charcoal cooler. Scondly may u kindly give me a brief introduction of how u can Make charcoal out of banana peerl. Kind/regards Mr fox


  44. Posted by Unggoy on April 3, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Just some remarks to clear up facts and correct misconceptions in the article:
    (1) Charcoal doesn’t cool. The evaporation of water provides the cooling because water requires energy to evaporate. The energy comes from sunshine, evaporation cools the water in the coal, and also the space surrounded by the coal.
    (2) The reason why charcoal makes excellent material for a refrigerator is that charcoal absorbs water like a sponge, and its color absorbs heat from the surrounding.
    (3) The coal doesn’t get used up in the cooling process, hence there is no need to be concerned about environmental impact of making the charcoal for this purpose.


  45. Well this is pretty good but would have been better if there was a video to explain all this


  46. Posted by Alice on June 2, 2017 at 7:02 am

    This is a great innovation for those of us living in rural areas. It would be nice if you added a picture of the fridge to the this information.


  47. Posted by Chikondi Chiumia on July 30, 2017 at 3:19 am

    Am on trying it now, construction already done, if any improvements let me know


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