Winners of the Global Cooling Prize announced

I rarely stay up late to watch serious TV. However, this announcement, three years in the making, was something that I just couldn’t miss.

At Close Comfort, we sincerely congratulate the Global Cooling Prize 2021 winners along with all the judges and participating teams! Everyone involved in the Prize helped develop new green technologies that can cool people around the world without warming or harming our planet.

Affordable green cooling has become a global necessity: our planet is getting hotter, with 30% of the population already exposed to potentially dangerous heat conditions. Estimates predict that three-quarters of the world will be at risk by 2100. A 2018 study by the Rocky Mountain Institute predicted that the number of air conditioners in emerging economies will increase fivefold by 2050. Without new technologies, these machines would raise global temperatures by over 0.5 degrees Celsius by 2100.

The Global Cooling Prize has demonstrated that providing cooling as a fundamental human right doesn’t have to happen at the expense of our planet. Everyone deserves to live in reasonable comfort without fear of being exposed to heat-related harm.

Our team of engineers and environmentalists were excited to glimpse each team’s innovative, eco-friendly designs. As a company dedicated to innovating greener and cheaper cooling solutions, at Close Comfort, we were keen to learn more about the development of their remarkable prototypes and the challenges they’ve overcome.

Some of the technologies presented this year have genuinely awed us:

Barocal used radical new technology, compressing solid materials to create a cooling effect. Unlike today’s refrigerant gases, these materials do not escape into the atmosphere, so there is no climate impact from using them. While they were not successful this time, this developing technology is definitely one to watch.

One of the joint-first prize winners, Gree, in partnership with Tsinghua University of China, used conventional compressor refrigeration, evaporative cooling and fresh air ventilation to achieve a seemingly impossible objective of reducing climate impact fivefold.

Other participants used promising futuristic technologies to pull moisture from the air without creating liquid water, such as NexarCool membrane.

Renowned entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson shared his own experience of innovation: “The road to achieving one’s dreams can be a bumpy one, but that’s precisely why we innovate, that’s why we try, again and again, navigating the twists and turns on the path to our goal. It’s time for the regulators to focus on the policies and standards that will help bring these technologies to market.”

At Close Comfort, we can’t wait to hear more from these teams about their exceptional achievements on the path to creating affordable and green cooling technologies!
The Global Cooling Prize is an innovation competition that invited participants worldwide to develop and test climate-friendly residential cooling solutions. These solutions had to be able to provide affordable and accessible cooling to people everywhere without warming the planet. The judging criteria were very specific. Teams needed to demonstrate a climate impact five times less than that of conventional air conditioners and could not exceed twice the existing cost when manufactured at scale.

The two winning teams were so close in performance that the judges could not separate them.

So, Sir Richard Branson announced a joint prize for winners Gree with Tsinghua University and Daikin with Nikken Sekkei.

You can catch the winners’ announcement in the video here.