At CES earlier this year, I checked out a solar-powered cooler. I never expected to one day discover its mirror-universe twin: a dirt-powered cooler. The eCool beer cooler harnesses a very old concept. Cellars, dug into the earth, have been used to keep food cool for centuries. That same idea drives the eCool, a compact, crank-operated cellar that keeps beer underground, but makes it easily accessible for consumption.
The entire contraption is nearly 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall. It can hold 24 cans and is designed to live in the ground all year long. The eCool creators suggest using a garden drill to make room to install it, unless you're a total shovel champion. The top pops up and a hand-crank moves the cans up so you can grab a cold one or lower some fresh cans down into the ground.
The eCool will keep your beers as cold as the surrounding ground. That should make for some pretty cool beers in a lot of climates. It would be interesting to test the gadget in a hot desert climate to see what temperature you're able to get down to. It would definitely be better than letting your craft brews just sit out in the sun.
The eCool is up for sale for about $300 (roughly £178, AU$324). That would buy you a lot of electricity to chill your beers in a regular refrigerator. However, the eCool could be handy for people who are concerned about power outages (Oh no! Warm beer!) or for cabins with no electric service. Of course, you're not restricted to alcoholic beverages it could work just as well for your soda or sparkling water cans.
If you do buy and install one of these, be sure to ask your party guests, "Would you like me to crank you up a beer from the depths of the cold, dark earth?"