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India helps launch $3 million competition for efficient cooling technologies

The Ministry of Science and Technology announced the launch of the Global Cooling Prize, an international competition.

The competition is designed to provide an incentive to develop more efficient cooling technologies.

To participate, companies need to create a solution that has five times less climate impact than a standard room air conditioner (RAC), at no more than twice the cost, so its payback period is less than four years.

The Union Minister, Mr Harsh Vardhan, made the announcement at the Global Cooling Innovation Summit held at the country’s capital.

There are currently 1.2 billion room air conditioning units in service around the world, according to a report. By the middle of the century, this number is expected to increase to at least 4.5 billion, with over 1 billion units in India alone.

Mr Richard Branson, who helped launch both the report and the Global Cooling Competition, said that the increase in energy consumption for cooling represents a massive risk to meeting the world’s climate goals.

The prize, which is US $3 million, he said, “can literally help save the world from the disaster it’s facing.”

According to an official press release, the summit is a solutions-focused event. It will bring together industry experts and developers from around the globe. These innovators will explore new methods and develop technologies to address the climate threat that is a result of growing demand from room air conditioners.

The summit has been collaboratively organised by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, along with the Rocky Mountain Institute, Alliance for An Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE), Conservation X Labs and the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) University.

At the summit, the Minister said that the health and productivity of billions of citizens living in tropical and subtropical climates are greatly affected by rising temperatures.

He added that the Government invites innovators to rise to challenge and develop higher-efficiency technologies that provide access to affordable cooling to people around the world.

According to its website, the Global Cooling Prize is rallying a global coalition of leaders to solve the critical climate threat that comes from growing demand for residential air conditioning. By harnessing the power of innovation, it aims to provide cooling solutions that enhance people’s lives without contributing to climate change.

The report said that studies show that by the year 2017, a substantial portion of the total carbon budget had been exhausted, this budget was estimated by climate scientists in order to achieve the Paris Agreement goal.

The goal was to keep global warming to less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels by the year 2100. Per the different scenarios envisioned by the climate science community, this leaves a mere 350 to 700 gigatons (GT) of permissible CO2e (equivalent carbon dioxide) emissions for the remainder of the century.

Based on their analysis, RAC growth could add dangerously high levels of CO2e emissions and potentially derail the Paris Agreement goal.

The release said the competition help create a collaborative platform that can utilise the potential of researchers and contribute to fostering innovation. It has the ability to have a huge social and economic impact.

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