Winners of the Global Cooling Prize cut climate impact by five times for AC units

(eceee news, 4 May 2021) The two winners of the Global Cooling Prize were announced at the Global Cooling Prize Grand Award Ceremony, which took place on April 29. The winning entries represent breakthrough technologies with five times less climate impact than conventional AC units available on the market today.

The Global Cooling Prize awarded two winners: team Daikin with partner Nikken Sekkei Ltd., and team Gree Electric Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai with partner Tsinghua University. The winners share the prize purse of US$1 million equally.

The manufacturers are planning to bring the winning technologies to market by 2025. The winning technologies have five times less climate impact than conventional AC units in use today When scaled, such technologies could prevent 132 GT of CO-equivalent emissions cumulatively between now and 2050 and mitigate over 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century.

Tom Steyer, founder of NexGen America, stated: “When the Prize launched in 2018, many people, including cooling experts, believed that the 5X climate cooling criteria, as well as the Prizes’ supplementary criteria, were far too ambitious. But here we are, both team Daikin and partner Nikken Sekkei Ltd., and team Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Zhuhai and partner Tsinghua University, have not only proven that a 5X technology is possible, but shown that the technology is here today. These technology breakthroughs, coupled with the ambitious commitments made in the Race to Zero, exemplify the incredible progress that can be made when innovators are mobilized, the right incentives for change are identified, and cross-sectoral stakeholders work together.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, who also congratulated the winners said: “A market transformation opportunity for the cooling sector is now a reality, which can help combat the warming of our planet. As this incredible achievement begins to be recognized and applauded, it’s time for regulators to focus on the policies and standards that will help us bring these technologies to the markets.”

The other Finalist teams were led by some of the world’s largest air conditioner (AC) manufacturers and promising startups from India, China, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom, including Barocal Ltd.; Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. with partner A.T.E; Kraton with partners Infosys, IIT Bombay, and Porus Labs; M2 Thermal Solutions; S&S Design Startup Solutions Pvt. Ltd.; and Transaera with partner Haier.

The ceremony is the culmination of process to incentivize the development of a residential cooling solution with at least five times less climate impact than standard Residential/Room Air Conditioners (RAC) units on the market today.

The Global Cooling Prize, of which eceee is a partner, manages a global c­­oalition of leaders to encourage technology innovation, to tackle growing demand for room air conditioning. 

View the press release here
Video of the outcome announcement
The full ceremony can be viewed here