Union Environment Minister launches Global Cooling Prize

The Global Cooling Innovation Summit was inaugurated by Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on November 12, 2018, in New Delhi.

While speaking at the inaugural event, the Union Minister announced the launch of the Global Cooling Prize, an international competition to incentivize the development of a residential cooling technology that will have five times less climate impact in comparison to the standard Room Air Conditioning (RAC) units sold currently.

The Minister said that concrete and collective actions are required to address the colossal challenge of global warming. He added that India is close to doubling its research and development activities in this regard.

Global Cooling Innovation Summit: Key Highlights

The two-day summit is a first-of-its-kind solutions-focused event, which has been organized to explore concrete means and pathways to address the climate threat that comes from the growing demand from room air conditioners.

It has been jointly organized by the Department of Science and Technology along with Rocky Mountain Institute, Alliance for An Energy-Efficient Economy (AEEE), Conservation X Labs and CEPT University.

The summit saw the launch of the Global Cooling Prize, which is an Innovation challenge that aims to spur development of a residential cooling solution that has at least five times less climate impact than the standard air conditioners.

It is expected to witness participation from distinguished speakers from around the world, including innovators, philanthropists, venture capitalists, and other industry leaders.

Global Cooling Prize

It is an innovation competition with wide global reach and participation that aims to achieve dramatic breakthroughs in cooling technologies.

The key objective of the competition is to develop a climate-friendly residential cooling solution that can provide access to cooling to people around the world without warming the planet.

It aims to develop a cooling technology that requires radically less energy to operate, utilizes refrigerants with no ozone depletion potential and with low global warming potential and has the potential to be cost-effective at scale.

Key Highlights

The competition aims to rally a global coalition of leaders to solve the critical climate threat that comes from growing demand for residential air conditioning by harnessing the power of innovation.

The competition is designed to incentivize the development of a residential cooling solution that will have at least five times less climate impact than the standard RAC units.

The technology could prevent up to 100 gigatons (GT) of CO2-equivalent emissions by 2050, and put the world on a pathway to mitigate up to 0.5˚C of global warming by 2100, all while enhancing living standards for people in developing countries around the globe.

The awards programme will call worldwide attention to the most promising ideas across the globe and will celebrate successes and facilitate endeavors of innovators through providing recognition, encouragement, and support.

Over US$3 million will be awarded in prize money over the course of the two-year competition.

Up to 10 short-listed competing technologies will be awarded up to US$200,000 each in intermediate prizes to support the design and prototype development of their innovative residential cooling technology designs.

The winning technology will be awarded at least US$1 million to support its incubation and early-stage commercialization.


  • There are currently 1.2 billion room air conditioning units in service around the world.
  • It is estimated that the number of units will increase to at least 4.5 billion by 2050.
  • India alone will see over 1 billion air conditioning units deployed in the market by 2050.
  • The energy consumption associated with comfort cooling represents one of the largest end-use risks to the climate, putting the most vulnerable populations at risk.
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