Gree Electric Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai with partner Tsinghua University; and Daikin with partner Nikken Sekkei Ltd. have emerged as the two winners among eight finalists of the Global Cooling Prize. The Global Cooling Prize is an international innovation competition to develop super-efficient and climate-friendly residential cooling solutions initiated by the Government of India, Mission Innovation, and RMI.
These companies have produced prototypes that have five times less climate impact than standard air conditioning units available in the market today. When scaled, such technologies can prevent 132 GT of CO2 – equivalent emissions cumulatively between now and 2050 and mitigate over 0.5C of global warming by the end of the century.
The Prize administrators also concluded that whilst both teams’ technologies would likely have an initial up-front cost on introduction to the market at two to three times more than the baseline units, lifecycle cost of ownership would be around half that of the baseline unit. This means consumers would experience a simple payback on the higher first cost after just over three years of operation. The administrators also noted that the technologies’ ability to better control the indoor environment would provide increased comfort.
Congratulating the winners of the Prize, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan highlighted the significance of the achievement, stating: “This is an important development and aligns with the objectives of the India Cooling Action Plan that the Government of India officially released in 2019 to bolster our R&D efforts in global climate leadership. We are proud to achieve the outcome that requires far less operational energy, utilizes refrigerants with low or no ozone depletion potential and low global warming potential, and will also be cost-effective at scale.”
The other Finalist teams were led by some of the world’s largest air conditioner (AC) manufacturers and promising startups from India, China, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The teams (in alphabetical order) include Barocal Ltd.; Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. with partner A.T.E; Kraton with partners Infosys, IIT Bombay, and Porus Labs; M2 Thermal Solutions; S&S Design Startup Solutions Pvt. Ltd.; and Transaera with partner Haier.
In November of 2019, the eight Finalists were awarded US$200,000 each to develop their prototypes, and showcased a wide range of promising technologies, including smart hybrid designs of vapor-compression designs, evaporative cooling designs, and solid-state cooling technologies that use little or no global warming refrigerants.
In August of 2020, amidst the global pandemic, five of the eight Finalist teams successfully developed and delivered two working prototypes of their technology to the designated test locations in India. To demonstrate the performance and scalability of the Finalists’ solutions, one prototype from each team was installed and tested under a real-world setting at the Tata New Haven Bahadurgarh site near New Delhi. The second prototype was tested in a sequential manner under controlled conditions at CEPT University in Ahmedabad, India. Finally, the prototypes were sent to Danfoss’ National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL)-accredited lab in Chennai, India for an Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER) test.
The winners will share the prize purse of US USD 1 million equally.