ISU Team KinoSol Awarded $40,000 for Solar Food Dehydrator Innovation

Clayton Mooney, a senior in global resources systems, checks on Team KinoSol's fifth prototype. The team won $40,000 in awards to test and market KinoSol to developing countries. Team members include global resource systems majors Ella Gehrke, a sophomore, Mikayla Sullivan, a junior; Elise Kendall, a junior; Clayton Mooney, a senior; and Alexandria Wilson, a freshman in animal science.

AMES, Iowa - An Iowa State University student team has won $40,000 in awards for a mobile solar food dehydrator built to help subsistence farmers in developing countries.

Iowa State University Team KinoSol won $35,000 after competing in an Innove’ Project in Minneapolis and another $5,000 from the 2015 Pappajohn New Venture Student Business Plan Competition. 

The team was originally called the Gung-ho Globies when they created a mobile solar dehydrator called KinoSol in response to a Thought for Food Global Challenge competition in March. The Thought For Food Challenge asked university students worldwide to form teams and develop ideas to address the global challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050.

The Gung-ho Globies competed against 336 teams from 51 countries and was selected as one of 10 teams worldwide to compete in Portugal at the Thought For Food Global Challenge competition.

Although the team didn’t win they went on to compete in other competitions to obtain start-up funding to continue the development and marketing of KinoSol.

Team members include global resource systems students Mikayla Sullivan, a senior; Ella Gehrke, a junior; Elise Kendall, a senior; Clayton Mooney, a senior; and Alexandria Wilson, a sophomore in animal science.

KinoSol is designed as an inexpensive tool to dehydrate fruits and vegetables using solar energy. The idea is to dehydrate food to increase market accessibility, increase access to nutritional foods and decrease food loss. The dehydrator is designed to be a mobile unit to allow producers to easily take products to market or share the tool with other farmers.

"We designed it as a tool for women in the developing world to encourage empowerment and technology use," Gehrke said.

This summer the team is working on its fifth prototype. Mooney said the team is researching methods to increase its efficiency.

“We’re now focusing on a 15-month research and development phase,” Mooney said. “Then we want to manufacture units using plastic molding instead of plywood and plexiglass, so we can provide units to non-governmental organizations, churches and other organizations.”

See more about Team KinoSol at or at

View this video for more about KinoSol.