February 23, 2020

$50,000 Chill Challenge for Solutions to Off-Grid Refrigeration in USA 2020

Fully funded by the Open Philanthropy Project, and offered by the Engineers Without Borders, this Chill Challenge grant is made available in the USA.

Refrigeration is key to economic and social development. It is possible that there may be as many 2 billion people without access to reliable refrigeration. Refrigeration requires a quantum leap in power and investment, and with current technology may remain out of the reach of most on-grid households for the foreseeable future. This initiative is intended to be the first phase of bringing affordable, o-grid refrigeration solutions to developing countries. If viable prototypes are demonstrated, EWB-USA hopes to secure additional funding to support further development.

Value of Award

The value of the $50,000 Chill Challenge grant in the USA ranges between $25,000-$50,000 to as many as 10 teams to build and test prototypes.

Basic Requirement

  • Open to all interested persons
  • For the initial screening of applicants, EWB-USA’s review panel will rate proposals for short-listing based on the following general criteria:
  • Is the concept theoretically sound?
  • If the prototype works, would it offer an affordable option for on-grid communities?
  • Is the technology otherwise appropriate for remote on-grid communities?
  • What qualifications does the applicant have to perform the R&D?
  • Supplemental Evaluation Criteria: Applicants who are short-listed will be asked for specific details of their research proposal, and will be further evaluated on the following criteria:
  • Has the applicant laid out a clear research plan?
  • Are the proposed budget and timeline reasonable?
  • If successful, could the applicant participate in further development?

Final Selection: In its final selection of grantees, EWB-USA’s goal will be to support the best portfolio of research projects, across a range of refrigeration technologies, given the available funds. Therefore, in addition to the individual merit of proposals, other factors may be taken into consideration. These might include the size of grants requested, the availability of co-funding or in-kind support, and the need to explore a diversity of technologies.


Proposals for the $50,000 Chill Challenge grant in the USA are due by 5:00 PM, MST, December 16, 2019.

How to Apply

  • Teams interested in competing for grants will be invited to submit proposals outlining their approach to the problem.
  • Forms for registering teams and submitting proposals are available on their site.
  • Applicants should read the current FAQ before submitting any questions or concerns.
  • Initial proposals will be screened by an expert panel and approximately 20 of the best proposals will be short-listed for further consideration.
  • Short-listed teams, to be notified in January 2020, may be asked for additional information to clarify their initial proposals.
  • In addition, they will be asked for specific details on their research process, timeline and budget.


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