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Air-conditioning units on a building in China

University of Birmingham ‘clean cold’ experts are working with the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) and the UK Government to launch an innovative new online tool that will help accelerate the spread of affordable sustainable energy innovation and tackle climate change. 

Professor Toby Peters joined Dr. Peter Warren, Head of International Cooling Finance and Policy, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 24), in Poland, to launch the Global Clean Cooling Landscape Assessment - the tool and related support materials are accessible.

Developed by the University of Birmingham and Heriot Watt University and Flexible Power Systems, the unique toolkit gives an introduction to sustainable cooling and the challenges it poses. The online resource also includes information on how we can come together to act now before it is too late.

The toolkit was launched yesterday (12 Dec) at the conference in Katowice as part of an event organised by BEIS on: ‘Low Carbon Cooling: Scaling-Up Innovation, Finance and Deployment’.

The Global Clean Cooling Landscape Assessment is the result of extensive collaboration with industry, government, finance, NGO and academic experts across 12 countries.

Professor Peters, from the University of Birmingham and Heriot-Watt University, who led the research, commented: “Cooling is essential to our modern society and one of the biggest threats to our planet. 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.”

Without ambitious intervention, research shows that energy demand from cooling could increase six-fold by 2050, putting increasing pressure on global energy resources. How the world meets its demand for cooling will have a major impact on climate change and air pollution.

“Ensuring cooling is affordable and accessible to all who need it is essential to achieving the UN’s global sustainable development goals,” added Professor Peters. “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.”

The Clean Cooling Landscape Assessment was supported through a grant from the Kigali Cooing Efficiency Program. Executive Director Dan Hamza-Goodacre said: “This assessment will help investors, foundations, and buyers and sellers of cooling across the globe better understand the technology and business model options that can urgently scale up efficient, clean cooling for the benefit of people and planet.”

As well as engaging with experts, creating the toolkit saw the team review academic, intra-governmental and industrial papers, as well as analysing datasets covering current and future cooling demands of 208 countries, as well as more than 75 different technology providers.

The UK chairs the Mission Innovation Secretariat, which aims to accelerate global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable. The UK also co-leads the Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings Mission Innovation Challenge alongside the UAE and the European Commission.

The Katowice event brings together leading organisations and countries to discuss how to scale-up innovation, finance and deployment of low-carbon cooling for all. Participants will discuss the role of international collaboration in access to sustainable cooling and identify where key policy, innovation and financing gaps exist.

Speakers included:

  • Professor John Loughhead, Chief Scientific Advisor, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Government
  • Kate Hughes, Director of International Climate & Energy, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, UK Government
  • Professor Toby Peters, Professor of Cold Economy, University of Birmingham
  • John Roome, Senior Director, World Bank
  • Dr. Peter Warren, Head of International Cooling Finance and Policy, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Government
  • Mark Radka, Branch Chief, UN Environment
  • David Turk, Head of Strategic Initiatives Office, International Energy Agency (IEA)
  • Glenn Pearce-Oroz, Director of Policy and Programmes, SEforAll
  • Ian Tansley, Founder and Chief Technical Officer, Sure Chill
  • Iain Campbell, Senior Fellow, Rocky Mountain Institute above SEforAll
  • The University of Birmingham is a noted centre of clean cold expertise and its Birmingham Energy Institute recently appointed leading Indian sustainable cold chain expert Pawanexh Kohli as an honorary professor of ‘Post-harvest logistics’.

The appointment follows an agreement signed this year by the University and the State Government of Haryana to develop centres of excellence for clean cold chains that will help to map a blueprint and delivery plan for sustainable cooling across the north Indian state.

For more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Heriot-Watt is a specialist, pioneering university with a reputation for innovative research and highly employable graduates. We have approximately 29,000 students at our five main campuses based in Scotland, the UAE and Malaysia, and in over 160 other countries through our distance learning programmes.
  • The Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) is a philanthropic collaboration set up to help developing countries enhance the energy efficiency of cooling as they phase out and down super polluting F-gases used in refrigeration. K-CEP is a program of the ClimateWorks Foundation