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A new project to develop cost-effective space cooling technologies powered by green technologies has been launched by a global consortium led by the University of Birmingham.

The project has been awarded €639,000 EU funding and draws together 12 research institutions and 5 industrial companies to accelerate new technologies into the marketplace.

“Cooling is the fastest growing use of energy in buildings but it is also one of the most critical blind spots in today’s energy debate,” says lead researcher Dr Yongliang Li, in the University of Birmingham’s School of Chemical Engineering. “Energy demand for space cooling will more than triple by 2050 – we need to act rapidly to develop and deploy new technologies to decarbonise cooling if we are to meet the EU’s climate goals.”

The consortium – called CO-COOL – will bring together complementary expertise in chemical engineering, materials, cold thermal storage and refrigeration systems as well as skills in business development and entrepreneurship.

One of the key challenges to overcome is the intermittent way in which renewable energy is generated, as well as the fluctuations in end-user demand. To address this, the consortium will be developing cold thermal energy storage technologies that can maximise the use of renewable energy and also cheap off-peak electricity.

Other areas the consortium will focus on include the development of thermally-driven technologies that will maximise the use of waste heat, and flexible refrigeration technologies that can absorb efficiently electricity from intermittent renewable sources. 

“We recognise that we need interdisciplinary approaches to create this revolution in cooling technologies,” says Dr Li “Crucially, that means not only bringing together the research expertise to drive the underpinning innovations, but also working with SMEs and other organisations to accelerate the adoption of these innovations by industry.”

CO-COOL RISE is a four-year project, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 under its Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange programme.

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