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Online ‘clean cold’ tool unveiled to support more sustainable cooling

New initiative developed by UK academics with global support is intended to support more holistic planning of cooling systems and sustainable supply chains around the world

Clean cold experts from the University of Birmingham have launched a new online tool in conjunction with the UK government and the globally-focused Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) to help with sustainable energy initiatives and business planning.

The ‘Global Clean Cooling Landscape Assessment’ tool is designed to provide policy makers and investors with an introduction on adopting more holistic approaches to sustainable cooling projects, as well as the challenges in undertaking them.

The technology has been launched at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 24) this week and has been developed by the University of Birmingham and Heriot Watt University, as well as Flexible Power Systems.

The launch builds on recent international projects and conferences involving the university that are focused on building viable trials of clean cold projects, finance models and policy around the world.  This has most prominently been focused so far on rural regions of India, but researchers say there are much wider global applications for this work.

Dr Peter Warren, who heads up international cooling finance and policy with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), joined Professor Toby Peters from the University of Birmingham at COP24 to launch the toolkit.

Professor Peters said the online service was part of a much wider body of global work and finance planning intended to rethink cooling needs in terms of how essential the sector is to society and how to offset the environmental challenges it creates.

He said, “Ever-increasing demand for cooling will result in spiralling energy usage with a potentially disastrous environmental impact, if left unchecked.”

“More than one billion people urgently need cooling to meet basic living requirements – access to food and essential vaccines, as well as the ability to find respite from temperatures beyond the limits for human survival. We must deliver clean and sustainable cooling; tackling climate change and toxic air pollution by adopting zero-emission technologies.”

Clean cold is a term used to describe planning of cooling systems or functions that combining news forms of policy and business models with technologies that may already be on the market, face barriers to widescale implementation.

The University of Birmingham has argued that research has shown that the energy needed to meet increased use of cooling could grow six-fold by 2050 unless new approaches can be taken.

Professor Peters added, “Ensuring cooling is affordable and accessible to all who need it is essential to achieving the UN’s global sustainable development goals. There is a massive global market for sustainable cooling technology and the UK is very good at delivering innovation in this area.”

“Our Clean Cooling Landscape Assessment shows where investment can create impact. It will help to break down barriers to deploying sustainable cooling and help investors to assess technologies and solutions.”

Funding for the Clean Cooling Landscape Assessment tool has come from a grant from the Kigali Cooing Efficiency Program and was built based on engagement with a range of global experts.

This development team looked at academic, industrial and intra-governmental data and reports looking at the future cooling demands of some 208 countries and research from 75 different technology providers.

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