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Govt announces a global competition to develop cooling technology less harmful to environment than ACs

The Union Ministry of Science and Technology on Monday announced the launch of the ‘Global Cooling Prize’, an international competition to incentivise the development of a residential cooling technology that will have at least five times less impact on the environment than the standard Room Air Conditioning (RAC) units. Union Minister Harsh Vardhan made the announcement at the inaugural of the Global Cooling Innovation Summit here.

“The health and productivity of billions of citizens living in tropical and subtropical climates will be affected by rising temperatures. The innovation challenge aims at developing sustainable and efficient technology to provide thermal comfort to all,” he said.

“We want innovators to rise to this global challenge to develop a super-efficient technology which provides access to affordable cooling to people around the world. We must work to mitigate the risks of global warming due to the massive deployment of ACs in the near future,” the minister said.

According to official statistics, there are 1.2 billion room air conditioning units in service around the world and it is estimated that the number of such units will increase to at least 4.5 billion, including over 1 billion in India, by 2050.

The prize is supported by the government’s ‘Mission Innovation’ initiative and will be administered by a coalition of leading research institutes — the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Conservation X Labs, the Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE) and CEPT University.

The coalition will drive and support incubation, commercialisation, and ultimately mass adoption of the breakthrough technology, starting in India and expanding to other countries.

Over $3 million will be awarded in prize money over the course of the two-year competition.

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