Global Climate Prize: $1M to develop more efficient, climate friendly home cooling systems

New Delhi: Eight teams of innovators from different parts of the world have been selected for an international competition to develop more efficient and climate-friendly cooling solutions for residential buildings.

The contest is being organised by a global coalition led by the Indian Government’s Department of Science and Technology, US-based Rocky Mountain Institute and Mission Innovation, an international initiative of 24 countries and European Union that is aimed to accelerate research in the area of clean energy.

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A total of 2,100 registrations from 95 countries were received for the contest and of them 445 teams submitted their preliminary ideas. Out of these, 139 teams from 31 countries followed through with detailed technical proposals. Now, eight of them have been selected to go further to the final round of the contest. The selected teams will develop prototypes based on their proposals and these will be field tested in India during the next summer.

The eight were today presented with a US$200,000 award to help them translate their ideas into prototypes. The final winner will be announced in November 2020. The final award, called Global Climate Prize, will carry a money component of US$1 million.

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The finalists teams are led by some of the world’s largest air conditioner (AC) manufacturers, including Gree Electric Appliances Inc of Zhuhai, Daikin AirConditioning India Pvt. Ltd., and Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.; start-ups and corporations, including S&S Design Startup Solution Pvt. Ltd., Transaera Inc., M2 Thermal Solutions, Kraton Corporation; and Barocal Ltd, a new spin-out from a University of Cambridge lab.

Presenting the awards to the selected finalists, the Union Minister for Science and Technology, Harsh Vardhan, said the initiative aligned with the objectives of the India Cooling Action Plan that the Central Government released earlier this year to give a boost to research and development in the area of global climate change and strengthen the country’s commitment to accelerate clean energy innovations.

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He said that innovations and new technologies in cooling industry was especially crucial for India as studies showed that the demand for comfort cooling is expected to drive the stock of room ACs in the country to over one billion by 2050, marking a 40-fold growth from 2016.

United Kingdom High Commissioner to India, Dominic Asquith, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Ashutosh Sharma, Director General, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Abhay Bakre, and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Geeta Menon, among other things, hoped the Global Cooling Prize programme would help in bringing out a solution that would offer better cooling efficiency with low or no global warming potential.

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Sunderarajan Padmanabhan is a contributor at India Science Wire.

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