India’s cooling demand is estimated to increase eight-fold from 2018 to 2038; space cooling represents a large proportion of this demand (57 per cent in 2018 and 74 per cent in 2038). Two major factors are contributing to this increase: (1) increasing average air temperatures and more frequent occurrence of extreme heat events and (2) rapid growth in India’s building sector. Average air temperatures have increased by 0.610C per 100 years with a significant increase in maximum temperature of 10C per 100 years. In
addition, extreme heatwaves have become more frequent in the past decade, leading to increased adoption of active cooling system.

The rapid expansion of India’s building sector will add more than two billion m2 of residential and commercial floor area to the country’s building stock in the next two decades (2018 to 2038). Air conditioning use may rise from 8 per cent to 40 per cent in residential buildings and from 26 per cent to 54 per cent in commercial buildings, increasing space cooling demand by 11-fold. This provides an opportunity to increase the share of innovative, low carbon cooling technologies in India’s cooling supply mix, which is currently dominated by vapour-compression-based cooling solutions such as RACs (42 per cent). These systems are major contributors to increasing peak electricity
demand and associated direct and indirect GHG emissions, leading to global warming. Heat generated by air-cooled condensers also warms local air and contributes to the urban heat island effect.

The government of India has developed the Indian Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) as a transitional driver toward sustainable cooling solutions. This emphasizes a reduction in cooling energy demand by 25-40 per cent and refrigerant demand by 25-30 per cent by 2037-2038 from the baseline value in 2017 2018. India is also a signatory to the Paris Agreement and has pledged to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 33-35 per cent by 2030 in its NDC.5

In order to meet the increasing cooling demand and maintain its commitment to sustainable growth, India must promote low carbon cooling solutions as an alternative to conventional vapour compression-based cooling systems. These
solutions would provide acceptable thermal comfort with significantly lower energy and refrigerant requirements, and consequently reduce GHG emissions.

Although many low carbon cooling solutions have emerged in the Indian market over time, their penetration into the cooling supply mix has been notably low. Providing the necessary traction for these technologies requires understanding the reasons behind their slow adoption thus far, from the perspectives of technology providers, designers and end users. This report reviewed the status of the low carbon cooling ecosystem in India, focusing on SMEs and start-ups, to better understand:
• Low carbon cooling technologies currently available in India and their
penetration in India’s cooling supply mix;
• Their growth drivers and opportunities;
• Role of SMEs in the low carbon cooling segment;
• Challenges faced by actors within this ecosystem and their views on the nature and intensity of efforts required to expand this segment.

It also describes technologies currently in the prototype, pilot or early commercialization stage outside India with the potential to spread into the Indian market. The report first discusses growth in the building sector and the consequent increase in cooling demand, then describes issues with the vapour-compression-based coolingsolutions dominant in the current cooling supply mix. Next, it discusses the need for low carbon cooling solutions to ensure India’s commitment to sustainable growth and considers the low carbon cooling ecosystem, its key players, and the pivotal role of SMEs and start-ups.

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