Banana Armour

Bringing more food to the table.

Brief: Explore some of the technologies from CERN or beyond, that might enable you to create a compelling new solution for a grand challenge covering social and economic disparity

Mission: Tackle hunger disparity by reducing food waste through providing an accessible cold-chain supply service.

Date: December 2018 - January 2019

Developed in collaboration with Nicci James, Xiyi Wu, Yuying Zhang

With special thanks to Margot Montassine (CERN) and Prof. Christos Markides (Imperial College)

To get an understanding of the climate of issues we looked to the World Economic Forum:

And the key goals of the United Nations (UN) and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO):

With further desk research, we found 3 key steps to improving nutrition:

  1. Sustainable agriculture

    • Provide sustainable methods of agriculture with natural, seasonal food, with less application of artifical fertilizers or chemical modification

  2. Food distribution:

    • Improve logistics to reduce the amounts of waste during the supply chain 

    • Redistribute surplus food resource to those who go without

  3. Food security

    • Method of food preservation and storage to provide a balanced diet that lasts

We analysed CERN's technology:

And looked at the all potential functionality we could tackle improve access to nutrition:

This lead us to our first ideation:





Feedback and advice received:

  • How does this differ from existing cool-box solutions?

  • Is a micro-grid a barrier to entry for your solution?

  • Pick a crop and location to help make design decisions

We selected bananas in Zimbabwe to lead our design decisions due to:

  • Storage requirement: bananas should be kept between 13-18 degrees to prevent over-ripening post harvest. Banana stems don't fit in traditional cool boxes.

  • Domestic consumption: bananas are a staple crop and most bananas are sold in country

  • Small-scale production: small farmers contribute to over 40% of local production

  • Rubbish from UK, US and Canada is dumped in Zimbabwe, including crisp packets which lead to the death of 6 elephants in 2016.

The challenge:

  • Low infrastructure profile: Lack of cooling method and facility to store the produce after harvesting

  • Bulk transportation: Multiple bananas stems often tied to the back of bicycles

  • Undeveloped network: It could take farmers up to 8 hours to reach the market

Inspired by the resistance and flexibility offered in pleated solutions we got prototyping:

We sought advice from Professor Christos Markides (Clean technologies) for advice on the cooling unit:

Having learnt that CERN's CO2 cooling technology would not be safe for transportation, we devised our own cooling unit.


The final design:

Introducing Banana Armour


The service delivery:


E.g. as a widow in Zimbabwe it can be difficult to earn income and Zimbabwe is an extremely young population with 62% under the age of 25. We aim to train these 2 groups in the production process of Banana Armour.

As an organisation, our role would be to consult with different locations on the planning, technology used and design, to set up the Banana Armour system in a way that is embedded into their current farming practices.











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  • Access to nutrition is one of the key goals in Zero Hunger vision of UN & FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization).

  • Stats of UN & FAO shows that: 1/9 global population are undernourished.

  • The most common non-infectious diseases worldwide, that contribute most to the global mortality rate, are all linked to poor nutrition.

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On receiving social media adverts such as these, we became interested in the way crisp packets preserve food, and found that CERN had also used crisp packet technology to design the Better Body Bag.

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