SolCor

Dry it, cool it, store it, profit

The idea of SolCor is to repurpose shipping containers into farming infrastructure, reducing post-harvest loss and aiding small farmers

Use Case

To use SolCor, multiple farmers will bring their harvested grains to the shipping container through the entrance door. From here, they pour the grains into the large, sectioned troth (4900kg) where it is dried by solar grain aeration. Once the grain’s relative moisture is at an acceptable level, they move the product into the storage canal through the vestibule. Here, they place it into locked airtight metal silos (1600kg ea.) which are cooled by natural night ventilation. This night ventilation system, driven by solar power and fans, is turned on by flipping a switch and pulling a vent open every night (to turn it on) and morning (to turn it off). Whenever a farmer wants to then sell the harvested grain, they visit the box and haul off the product to market.

Potential

This concept is not only environmentally sustainable, but it is economically sustainable as well. Small farmers will have long-term storage that will perpetuate their selling power in market place. By increasing farmer revenue, the economic status of a traditionally disadvantaged group will be raised. In addition, the reduction in post-harvest loss will contribute to the overall amount of food in local areas. Furthermore, the portable nature of the container allows it to be shipped anywhere else in the world. It has the potential to work in regions other than sub-Saharan Africa and enhance the economic status of small farmers in these regions as well. As food spoilage decreases due to SolCor, the amount of food in the world will increase overall.

Business Case

SolCor’s straightforward and simplistic design was specifically made to keep purchasing costs low for farmers The entire product costs approximately $7750 (USD). However Solcor can support up to nine small farmers. Thus the cost is diffused throughout the group reducing the individual burden. While there are many low cost drying and storage options available SolCor stands out through its climate control and protection which other competing products do not offer. Additionally most products can’t support the capacity SolCor can. With these selling points Solcor will be marketed to farmers and groups such as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) or One Acre Fund. Partnering with such organizations will allow us easier access to our target market and to possibly lower our prices.

Objectives:

  1. SolCor will reduce the presence of mycotoxins while increasing general food availability.
  2. SolCor seeks to create sustainable profit for the distributor through various techniques used to work with the farmers to help both parties.
  3. SolCor strives to increase market control and seasonal crop yield for the farmer.

Team Hub City

New Brunswick , USA

Our Team

Happy New Year from Hub City / Published December 31, 2015 by R. Emmet Brennan

Happy New Year from Hub City

As the new deadline approaches Hub City would like to wish you all a happy New Year and update everyone on our work. Since we wrapped our submission in time for the previous deadline, everyone took a much needed break to focus on finals. With their conclusion the team decided to start working on creating a physical model. Patrick's expertise has been crucial during this process. We want to create a miniature to scale prototype to be able to better convey our idea. This process has proved tedious but we hope to make more headway after the holidays. Additionally we have been reaching out to various members of the Rutgers community to strengthen our business plan. Creating a continuous and manageable revenue stream is central to the SolCor plan.

Computer Assisted Design / Published November 24, 2015 by R. Emmet Brennan

Computer Assisted Design

AutoCAD has served as a vital tool for Hub City in these past few months. Being able to visualize our project has given us a huge advantage in planning for the next steps.

Coming straight off the idea phase of the planning process, Hub City was largely dependent on chalkboard drawings and estimations. Trying to "eye" the dimensions of a large shipping container was difficult, and we learned that we are atrocious at drawing in perspective. The next meeting, Jon C. brought in his laptop, along with AutoCAD, and we set out to work immediately.

At our workplace, pictured above, we were able to draw freely on the chalkboard and plot what changes needed to be made to our idea. Our first alteration was creating a vestibule to trap the heat in one section - as shown in the picture. Next, we crunched some numbers and found out our ideal hallway space (for loading crops) and our maximum storage-to-drying ratio for the grains. After a brief switch from cylinders to rectangular silos (more volume), we calculated and finalized our maximum storage/drying capacity.

This turned out to be way higher than expected! Our visual had been a success, and we were finally able to confirm that our idea was feasible, practical, and had way more potential than we were initially able to see. Our CAD design, which will be featured in the video, gave us the needed insight into our specifications and allowed us to progress rapidly and accurately.

Filming / Published November 24, 2015 by Jon Baay

Filming

Today Hub City became filmmakers! With the help of Bailey, our cinematographer, the team shot footage for the video, which spans among 3 different locations. These locations all provided a context with which to present our concept - including a greenhouse and two of our workspaces where we hashed out the nitty-gritty details of the SolCor idea. Although it took a lot of prep to be "film ready," our background knowledge and research gave us the ability to convey our idea in a clear way - with minutes to spare before we had to go back to class!

However, there is still work to do on the horizon. Editing and post production will be a challenge over the Thanksgiving break, but it's clear that our project is coming along nicely so far. With the written work delegated, all Hub City needs to do is sprint down the home stretch.

With all the information about our design on video, we look forward to the judges being able to watch our hard work as it unfolds on screen.

Logo Process / Published November 24, 2015 by Jon Baay

Logo Process

For the past couple days, Hub City has been working on the branding of our Thought For Food proposal. This includes the name and logo of our product. The brainstorming process started with mixing the concepts included in our design in order to make a coherent and understandable brand. Next, we built a logo out of the key parts of our ideas. We hope to make SolCor the best that it can be!

Implementation / Published November 18, 2015 by Jon Baay

Implementation

Hub City put in work this month - delving deep into the specifics of the project. After researching ideal space, temperature, and moisture content, we set out to finalize our base design. Keeping in mind all of the different processes in our system, we are pleased to announce that we have arrived at close to the optimal design for our container. Progress!

Finally, after a long session of caffeine driven math, our team refueled with some healthy snacks. Pumpkin solely for display.

Our Mission

Our team is committed to stopping resource/food scarcity. We each feel that we have a duty to try and have a positive impact on our surroundings. To this end Hub City will be targeting inefficiencies in the food market. To put it simply less waste, maximum utilization.

Our Background

Hub City is a combination of multiple people and academic fields. We are all joined by the goal of reducing food scarcity. When added together our team studies Bio-mechanical Engineering, Plant Science, Electrical Engineering, Resource Economics, and Mechanical Engineering. It this diversity that lets us grow through each other.

Happy New Year from Hub City / Published December 31, 2015 by R. Emmet Brennan

Happy New Year from Hub City

As the new deadline approaches Hub City would like to wish you all a happy New Year and update everyone on our work. Since we wrapped our submission in time for the previous deadline, everyone took a much needed break to focus on finals. With their conclusion the team decided to start working on creating a physical model. Patrick's expertise has been crucial during this process. We want to create a miniature to scale prototype to be able to better convey our idea. This process has proved tedious but we hope to make more headway after the holidays. Additionally we have been reaching out to various members of the Rutgers community to strengthen our business plan. Creating a continuous and manageable revenue stream is central to the SolCor plan.

Computer Assisted Design / Published November 24, 2015 by R. Emmet Brennan

Computer Assisted Design

AutoCAD has served as a vital tool for Hub City in these past few months. Being able to visualize our project has given us a huge advantage in planning for the next steps.

Coming straight off the idea phase of the planning process, Hub City was largely dependent on chalkboard drawings and estimations. Trying to "eye" the dimensions of a large shipping container was difficult, and we learned that we are atrocious at drawing in perspective. The next meeting, Jon C. brought in his laptop, along with AutoCAD, and we set out to work immediately.

At our workplace, pictured above, we were able to draw freely on the chalkboard and plot what changes needed to be made to our idea. Our first alteration was creating a vestibule to trap the heat in one section - as shown in the picture. Next, we crunched some numbers and found out our ideal hallway space (for loading crops) and our maximum storage-to-drying ratio for the grains. After a brief switch from cylinders to rectangular silos (more volume), we calculated and finalized our maximum storage/drying capacity.

This turned out to be way higher than expected! Our visual had been a success, and we were finally able to confirm that our idea was feasible, practical, and had way more potential than we were initially able to see. Our CAD design, which will be featured in the video, gave us the needed insight into our specifications and allowed us to progress rapidly and accurately.

Filming / Published November 24, 2015 by Jon Baay

Filming

Today Hub City became filmmakers! With the help of Bailey, our cinematographer, the team shot footage for the video, which spans among 3 different locations. These locations all provided a context with which to present our concept - including a greenhouse and two of our workspaces where we hashed out the nitty-gritty details of the SolCor idea. Although it took a lot of prep to be "film ready," our background knowledge and research gave us the ability to convey our idea in a clear way - with minutes to spare before we had to go back to class!

However, there is still work to do on the horizon. Editing and post production will be a challenge over the Thanksgiving break, but it's clear that our project is coming along nicely so far. With the written work delegated, all Hub City needs to do is sprint down the home stretch.

With all the information about our design on video, we look forward to the judges being able to watch our hard work as it unfolds on screen.

Logo Process / Published November 24, 2015 by Jon Baay

Logo Process

For the past couple days, Hub City has been working on the branding of our Thought For Food proposal. This includes the name and logo of our product. The brainstorming process started with mixing the concepts included in our design in order to make a coherent and understandable brand. Next, we built a logo out of the key parts of our ideas. We hope to make SolCor the best that it can be!

Implementation / Published November 18, 2015 by Jon Baay

Implementation

Hub City put in work this month - delving deep into the specifics of the project. After researching ideal space, temperature, and moisture content, we set out to finalize our base design. Keeping in mind all of the different processes in our system, we are pleased to announce that we have arrived at close to the optimal design for our container. Progress!

Finally, after a long session of caffeine driven math, our team refueled with some healthy snacks. Pumpkin solely for display.

Our Team

Our Mission

Our team is committed to stopping resource/food scarcity. We each feel that we have a duty to try and have a positive impact on our surroundings. To this ...Read More

Our Background

Hub City is a combination of multiple people and academic fields. We are all joined by the goal of reducing food scarcity. When added together our team studies ...Read More

The information contained here represents student project ideas developed as the result of brainstorming activities during Round 1 of the TFF Challenge. It does not represent any final business plans or commercial products.