Doing Cold Smarter was launched earlier this year to produce a roadmap for the UK to navigate the complexity of cold energy provision and provide direction for investment in sustainable solutions.
Cold is a vital part of thermal energy policy for the future, but despite 14% (almost £5.2billion each year) of Britain’s electricity goes to cooling it has been little explored.
The provision of cold, or cooling, is integral to modern society; without it, the supply of food, medicine and data would simply break down. Cold is also vital for many other applications including air conditioning, super-critical technologies and freezing and powdering materials for recycling and easy disposal.
The food currently wasted or lost in Africa and Latin America alone could feed 600 million people; there are 842 million people who go to bed hungry every night.
A growing urban population and new middle classes are creating escalating demand for cooling. While current technologies may relieve pressure on the supply chain, the environmental impact would be severe.
These are the problems, we have the solutions.
Academic and industry experts behind the commission have put together recommendations for policy highlighting that the next 10 years of development in the reconfiguration of the UK’s energy landscape and the rapid building out of the energy infrastructure in emerging markets requires an accelerated adoption of sustainable solutions to cooling.
The UK could become a global leader in the development of new cold energy systems and the technical, economic, research and skills issues around ‘cold’. We are calling for a step change in the energy system which could provide an exciting opportunity for the UK to embrace new business and export opportunities spurring innovation and generating tens of thousands of jobs.
If nothing is done, within fifteen years cooling will require an additional 139GW - more than the generating capacity of Canada – and raise greenhouse gas emissions by over 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, three times the current energy emissions of Britain.