Designing an off-grid chick brooder using thermal batteries made from beeswax

Youtube ID
African Solar Generation


In this video, D-Lab Research Scientist Daniel Sweeney will introduce you to a project designing a safe off-grid chick brooder for farmers in Cameroon. The project got off the ground in a fall 2021 D-Lab class and has evolved since then.

Most recently, a team of students from D-Lab's Applications of Energy in Global Development class advanced the project. Working with the Antenna Foundation, African Solar Generation, and the Obala Agricultural Institute they have been figuring out how to build better off-grid brooder that uses locally-available materials. The result? An insulated box that uses thermal batteries made of bees wax.

The D-Lab student team is made up of four MIT mechanical engineering students who spent the fall 2022 semester working on this project. The students are Katana Finlason '23, graduate students Aly Kombargi and and Ahmad Zakka, and Will Reinkensmeyer '23.

five people looking at a table
The MIT D-Lab team. Photo: African Solar Generation (video capture)

See also:

Fall 2022 D-Lab Student Off-Grid Chick Brooder Project Page

MIT team working on a J-WAFS Animal Agriculture grant travels to Africa (J-WAFS)

This project was funded in part by MIT J-WAFS through the research project Safe off-grid brooder for Cameroonian poultry farmers.

More information

MIT D-Lab Project: Safe Off-Grid Brooder for Cameroonian Poultry Farmers

MIT D-Lab class: Applications of Energy in Global Development


Dan Sweeney, MIT D-Lab Research Engineer; Instructor, Applications of Energy in Global Development