Air conditioning demand is expected to triple by 2030 which means that the energy demand from cooling is to rise sharply. As the planet warms the need for air conditioners for survival will (ironically and understandably) increase globally. Obviously we need to switch to 100% renewable energy as quickly as possible to limit the ongoing harm from AC units. We can also produce more efficient and environmentally friendly AC units, and that’s exactly what some organizations are trying to do.
If we could make the most commonly sold, entry-level RACs four to five times more energy efficient and use low or no global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, we could mitigate the need for an additional 2,000 GW of power generation capacity – a figure equivalent to the total global coal-powered plant capacity in operation today.
The Global Cooling Prize – which was launched by RMI, the Government of India and Mission Innovation in 2018 – set out to do just that. The prize invited innovators from across the globe to submit their ideas for an affordable breakthrough cooling solution that had at least five-times less climate impact than the most commonly sold RAC on the Indian market today. More than 2,100 teams from 95 countries registered for the prize. Out of 139 detailed technical applications submitted by teams from 31 countries, the top eight solutions were shortlisted as finalists by the prize coalition in November 2019. Collectively, the finalists comprise around 25% of the total market share of RACs globally and have the potential to drive massive transformation in the industry.