Emily Cummins, 25, is an award-winning inventor whose interest in sustainable design began at the age of four, when her grandfather gave her a hammer and began to teach her how to make toys from scraps of materials found in his garden shed.
Teenage concern about our reliance on fossil fuel energy provoked Emily to design a sustainable fridge which is 'powered' by dirty water but keeps the contents dry, hygienic and cool. During her gap year, Emily went to live in an African township where she refined her fridge design before giving away the plans to benefit people living in poverty across southern Africa.
The fridge consists of two cylinders, one inside the other, between which a locally-sourced material such as sand, soil or wool is packed tightly and soaked with water. The sun's energy causes the outer part of the fridge to 'sweat'. As the water evaporates, heat energy is drawn away from the inner cylinder, which therefore becomes cooler. The design is ideal for use in the developing world: it does not require electricity and can be built using ordinary household materials.
As a result of her work, Emily was named as one of the Top Ten Outstanding Young People in the World 2010 and the Barclays Woman of the Year 2009.
"I just wanted to let you know how truly inspirational your talk was. Your passion and commitment was catchy and had me questioning why I wasn't trying to follow in your footsteps."– Year 13 pupil
"Emily’s talk was fascinating. Our students were really inspired by this lady who had done so much at such a young age."– Louise Allen, Headington School
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