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Breakthrough, Climate-Friendly ACs: Winners of the Global Cooling Prize Announced

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Breakthrough, Climate-Friendly ACs: Winners of the Global Cooling Prize Announced

A global coalition initiated by the Government of India, Mission Innovation, and RMI announced the winners of the Global Cooling Prize, an international innovation competition to develop super-efficient and climate-friendly residential cooling solutions. Gree Electric Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai with partner Tsinghua University; and Daikin with partner Nikken Sekkei Ltd. emerged as the two winners among eight Finalists after shattering the perceived ceiling of performance. These companies have produced prototypes that have five times (5X) 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 0.5-degree C of global warming by the end of the century.

Both winning teams, Gree Electric Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai with partner Tsinghua University, and Daikin with partner Nikken Sekkei Ltd., achieved more than 5X reduction in climate impact against the baseline unit, meeting the primary criteria of the Prize. 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 competition, Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group said: “A market transformation opportunity for the cooling sector is now a reality, which can help combat the warming of our planet. As this incredible achievement begins to be recognized and applauded, it’s time for regulators to focus on the policies and standards that will help us bring these technologies to the markets.”

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.

KJ Jawa, MD & CEO Daikin India, Member of the Board & Regional General Manager, AC business, India and East Africa Daikin Industries, said, “Daikin’s selection as a winner of the Global Cooling Prize is consistent with our Environmental Vision 2050, which provides a roadmap for the company to carbon neutrality by 2050. In line with that vision, Daikin is committed to the research and commercial development of technologies that reduce energy consumption and refrigerant impact for the benefit of global communities and the environment.”

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