Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy
Photo credit: Annie Spratt
The Global Cooling Prize is an international competition and initiative intended to develop and scale a residential cooling solution that consumes five times (5x) less grid energy than today’s standard products, operates under constraints on water use, refrigerant and materials types, maintenance requirements, among others, and is affordable to consumers as compared to today's available technologies.
Space cooling is one of the biggest end-use threats to our climate. At projected adoption rates, the number of RACs (Room Air-Conditioners) will rise from 900 million today to over 2.5 billion by 2050. This unprecedented demand for comfort cooling is likely to burden the already constrained power infrastructure in developing countries and will derail us from the global 2°C target. Non-OECD countries are going to see a 5x increase in demand for cooling during this period especially in in hot and humid climates, making cooling a necessity, not a luxury. A technology that uses 5x less electricity, when scaled, could help us avoid 1 degree in global warming by 2100, making it the single biggest technology frontier to advance our climate goals while ensuring better quality of life and healthier indoor environments for people around the world.
The Global Cooling Prize is run by a collaborative coalition of leading government agencies, technical experts, academic institutions, and NGOs who will administer the prize, support participating teams, and engage with industry to ensure that the winning technology will be positioned to quickly scale. The Prize coalition will also actively recruit participants for the competition, calling on representatives from incumbent and emerging cooling technology providers and manufacturers, innovators and designers from other industries, and academics, researchers, and students.
The Prize has received support from international organizations such as Mission Innovation, India's Department of Science and Technology, SE for All, among others.
We want to incentivize and achieve dramatic breakthroughs in cooling far beyond what policy has mandated, or what the industry have achieved to date, by administering a two year global competition that calls on innovators across the globe to design and test a residential cooling solution of the future that meets the 5x efficiency target along with other stringent technical and economic criteria. All shortlisted teams will receive financial and technical support from an ecosystem of experts towards prototyping and testing phases. These prototypes will be tested in both laboratory and real-world conditions in a heat-stressed city in India.
We have set aside USD $2M for this support. The team that invents the winning solution will be awarded a minimum of USD $1M, plus support to commercialize and scale this technology in developing country markets. Ultimately, we believe scaling this winning technology could help mitigate up to 1oC in global warming impact and provide access to affordable and climate-friendly comfort cooling to all without risking the future of our planet.