Estimation of European Union residential sector space cooling potential


Mindaugas Jakubcionis and Johan Carlsson


  • An estimation of EU space cooling demand potential in residential sector is presented.
  • An estimate of space cooling demand potential is based on using USA data as a proxy.
  • Significant cooling demand increase can be expected.
  • Cooling demand increase would lead to increased stress in energy supply systems.
  • Proper policies and strategies might measurably decrease the impact on energy systems.


Data on European residential space cooling demands are scarce and often of poor quality. This can be concluded from a review of the Comprehensive Assessments on the energy efficiency potential in the heating and cooling sector performed by European Union Member States under Art. 14 of the Energy Efficiency Directive. This article estimates the potential space cooling demands in the residential sector of the EU and the resulting impact on electricity generation and supply systems using the United States as a proxy. A georeferenced approach was used to establish the potential residential space cooling demand in NUTS-3 regions of EU. The total potential space cooling demand of the EU was estimated to be 292 TW h for the residential sector in an average year. The additional electrical capacity needed was estimated to 79 GW. With proper energy system development strategies, e.g. matching capacity of solar PV with cooling demand, or introduction of district cooling, the stresses on electricity system from increasing cooling demand can be mitigated. The estimated potential of space cooling demand, identified in this paper for all EU Members States, could be used while preparing the next iteration of EU MS Comprehensive Assessments or other energy related studies.

The open access to this study is funded by the Joint Research Center via sciencedirect.

To access the full publication please click here


coolingEU Communication Paper

The coolingEU Communication Paper is now available!

Learn more about cooling in Europe and our work and aims for 2017!


Please click on picture to access the coolingEU Communication Paper



coolingEU Breakfast at the European Parliament

CoolingEU website

Using Deep Cold Coastal Seawater for Cooling

Original article here

Several coastal cities located in warm climates have a deep seafloor within less than 50 miles of the coastline. This cold seawater offers numerous benefits.

The Toronto Precedent

Several years ago, the City of Toronto’s water department in Canada installed an insulated water source pipe to access cold potable water from near the bottom of Lake Ontario. During the northern summer and prior to arriving at the water purification plant, that cold water passes through a heat exchanger to provide district cooling to several office towers located in the business district.

A cubic unit of that water provides over 3,400 times the heat capacity of the equivalent cubic unit of air. The result has been a massive reduction in energy consumption to cool building interiors.

Cold Tropical Seawater

While tropical surface seawater temperature may exceed 25 degrees Celsius, deep level seawater at 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) depth is at five degrees Celsius. Energy researchers used that difference in temperature to develop ocean thermal energy conversion engines located off the coasts of Hawaii and India that generate electric power.

However, many coastal cities have seafloor depths below 1,000 meters within less than 100 miles of land, allowing for possible installation of submerged insulated pipelines between the city and the greater depths. At some coastal cities, seafloor depths of 2,000 meters are within this distance.

The following cities are within 60 miles of 2,000 meters seafloor depth: San Juan, Recife, Santander, Cartagena, Toulon, Nice, Algiers, Western Crete, Antalya, Muscat, Chennai, Alexandria, Lagos, Port Elizabeth, East London, Nassau, Montego Bay, Cartagena, Port Macquarie and Sydney.

The following cities have cold ocean currents and 1,000 meter depth near the shore: San Juan, Lima, Valparaiso, Antofagasta, Cape Town, Perth, Albany, San Francisco, Ft Bragg, and Wellington.

Applying the Toronto Precedent

Coastal cities in tropical climates may borrow the Toronto summertime precedent of passing cold lake water through heat exchangers to cool buildings. These cities may draw cold seawater through insulated pipes from offshore depths and pass the cold seawater through counter-flow heat exchangers to cool a secondary stream of water flowing inside a closed loop pipe.

The heated seawater would be released back into the sea while the cooled water inside the closed loop pipe would flow to a large number of buildings in the coastal city, to provide low-cost cooling while reducing summertime air-conditioner related electric consumption.

While the Toronto potable-water based system is restricted to a small section of the city, an ocean based cold-seawater based system can be built to many times the order of magnitude and encompass a much larger section of the city. As a result, the reduction in air-conditioner related electrical consumption will be many times that of Toronto.

A cold seawater based system could also sustain the summertime operation of industrial refrigeration systems. Coastal cities such as Muscat (Oman), Chennai and Cape Town could achieve many times the summertime reduction in electric energy of Toronto.

Potable Water-from-Air

Numerous companies are offering home-based and office based water-from-air technology, essential modified dehumidifiers that include UV-radiation treatment of the water and addition of minerals. These companies estimate that the atmosphere may hold over 1 million liters of potable water per capita. Many coastal cities located at tropical and subtropical locations experience hot and humid summer weather with air temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius or 86 degrees Fahrenheit and a dew point of under 10 degrees Celsius. Cold water at under 10 degrees Celsius flowing through a radiator could help extract potable water from humid air.

Deep level coastal seawater could provide the necessary cooling capacity to extract potable water from humid air, using arrays of railway locomotive size radiators located sufficiently high above sea level so as not to be in the stream of coastal ocean spray.

During humid weather, any of coastal winds, drafting fans or chimney convection currents could draw humid air across the radiators to extract several thousand liters of potable water per day. Tall solar heated chimneys could draw through circular arrays of cooled radiators and perhaps deliver several hundred thousand liters of potable water per day.

Water Inside Buildings

Several companies are now marketing modified, electrically powered air dehumidifiers that not only extract water from humid air but also sanitize the water using intense UV-light treatment. Further treatment of water may include addition of minerals. Larger versions of this technology may be used in office towers.

At coastal cities where deep sea cold water is available, tall waterfront buildings have the option of using a cold stream of piped water to cool the condensers of water-from-air machines that provide several hundred liters of water per day and sufficient for the requirements of occupants of these buildings.

Economy of Scale

Economy-of-scale would justify the installation of several miles of insulated cold water pipe on the sea floor extending to depths of 1,000 meters to 2,000 meters combined with mega-size, submerged heat exchangers near the shore to transfer hear from a shore-based, closed loop insulated piping system of cold water. The closed-loop pipe of cold water would need to connect with a large number of tall office towers and related buildings located in a central business district to replace air conditioners. It would also need to connect to several large-scale, water-from-air extraction units to provide potable water.

Each building would include multiple small water-from-air extraction units, while either the municipality or related water distributor would operate multiple mega scale, water-from-air installations to extract potable water that it would add to the local water distribution system.

The onshore ocean thermal energy conversion installation at Hawaii is rated at 100 megawatts suggesting that a large-size pipe could source sufficient deep sea coastal cold water to sustain the operation of a district cooling system at a large coastal city. Populations of suitable coastal cities are provided:

Chennai, India
7 million
Muscat, Oman
1.5 million
Perth, Australia
2 million
Sydney, Australia
5 million
Cape Town, South Africa
4 million
Port Elizabeth, S. Africa
1.3 million
Alexandria, Egypt
4.5 million
Oran, Algeria
1.4 million
Algiers, Algeria
3.4 million
Low-Grade Thermal Energy

In India and Hawaii, cold deep seawater at five degrees Celsius drawn through insulated pipes serves as the heat sink for ocean thermal energy conversion, with near surface seawater at 25 degrees Celsius as the high temperature reservoir.

Several countries such as Japan and South Africa (Cape Town) operate steam-based thermal power stations located next to the coast, where seawater cools the exhaust steam condensers that then release heated seawater at 40 degrees Celsius into the ocean. The exhaust heat from coastal steam-power stations could sustain the operation of modified ocean thermal energy conversion installations and perhaps generate enough power to sustain 50,000 to 100,000 homes.

Increasing population and unpredictable weather patterns could encourage many coastal cities that face water shortages, to operate desalination plants in addition to water-from-air installations. Where space is available, brine could be deposited in specially excavated coastal brine ponds that capture solar heat and raise brine temperature to 60 to 90 degrees Celsius. The temperature difference between the brine ponds and piped in deep cold seawater could sustain the operation of Organic Rankine Cycle engines either to produce electric power after sunset, or even store enough heat overnight to generate early morning peak electric power.


Many coastal cities in warm climates have a sea floor drops that to great depth near the coast. These cities will have access via insulated pipeline located on the sea floor, to cold seawater at five degrees Celsius. Given that seawater has 3,600 times the heat capacity of the equivalent cubic unit of air, many coastal cities may use the cold deep seawater to cool the interior of buildings and to operate large-scale, water-from-air extraction units cooled by cold seawater, to supplement the supply of stored rainwater and water obtained through seawater desalination.

The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.

Industrial Refrigeration Systems Market worth 23.22 Billion USD by 2022

(Original post here)

According to the market research report Industrial Refrigeration Systems Market by Equipment (Compressors, Condensers, Evaporators), Refrigerant Type (Ammonia, CO2, HFCS), Application (Fruits & Vegetables Processing, Beverages, Refrigerated Warehouses), & Geography – Global Forecast to 2022″.

• Get Informative PDF Brochure:

The industrial refrigeration systems market is expected to reach USD 23.22 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 5.24% between 2016 and 2022.

• For More Information:

The market for CO2-based refrigeration systems expected to grow at the highest rate during the forecast period

The market for CO2-based industrial refrigeration systems are expected to grow at the highest rate during the forecast period owing to the benefits it offers, such as excellent thermodynamic properties, high energy-efficiency, zero-toxicity, and non-flammability. Many food and beverage industrial players, especially across developed economies in the North America and Europe region have shifted towards the usage of CO2 as a preferred refrigerant type, especially as a secondary refrigerant and also in the cascade systems.

Refrigerated warehouses application held the largest share of the industrial refrigeration systems market in 2015

Industrial refrigeration systems are most widely used in the refrigerated warehouses industry, which is further expected to hold the dominance in the near future as well, closely followed by fruits and vegetables processing application. Many industrial refrigeration systems manufacturers have started offering natural refrigerants compatible products and equipment, and low- global warming potential (GWP) and low- ozone depleting potential (ODP) refrigerants, which are being developed for replacing their comparatively high-GWP and high-ODP refrigerants counterparts, to follow strict adherence to the regional and international regulatory standards.

North America held the largest market share in 2015

North America held the largest market in 2015, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific for industrial refrigeration systems. The U.S. held the largest share of the North American industrial refrigeration systems market owing to strong demand from refrigerated warehouses, and food and beverage processing applications.

Major players in this market include Johnson Controls, Inc. (U.S.), Emerson Electric Co. (U.S.), Ingersoll Rand Plc (Ireland), GEA Group AG (Germany), The Danfoss Group (Denmark), Daikin Industries, Ltd. (Japan), United Technologies Corporation (U.S.), Mayekawa Mfg. Co. Ltd. (Japan), Evapco, Inc. (U.S.), LU-VE Group (Italy), Lennox International Inc. (U.S.), BITZER Kuhlmaschinenbau GmbH (Germany), and Baltimore Aircoil Company (U.S.).

Workshop and Training on Energy Efficiency and Cooling Technologies


The EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network announces the organisation of the two-day event “Energy Efficiency: A Key Driver for Clean Energy Transition” which will focus on Energy Efficiency and Cooling Technologies and will take place in Kuwait, on 2 and 3 October 2017. The event is under the Patronage of the Minister of the Oil and the Minister of the Electricity and Water, Mr. Essam Al Marzooq, and is organised by the EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Networkin partnership with the Kuwait Society of Engineers and the Public Authority of Applied Education and Training. The event will be held at the Kuwait Society of Engineers premises in Kuwait City.


The aim of the event is to foster partnerships by bringing together high-level stakeholders from the EU (European Union) and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to discuss Energy Efficiency and Cooling Technologies suitable for the region, exchange best practices and lesson s learned and to advance collaboration between EU and GCC actors.

Interested experts can apply for attendance through the web page of the event. The application platform will stay open until September 21st, 2017.

Learn more about the event here!

EU LIFE Project on Flammable Refrigerant Options for Natural Technologies – Improved standards & product design for their safe use

HEAT together with the project partners ECOS, AHT, ait-deutschland GmbH and NIBE AB recently won the Shecco lead project on “Flammable Refrigerant Options for Natural Technologies – Improved standards & product design for their safe use (FRONT)” funded by EU LIFE Climate Change Mitigation. LIFE FRONT is a demonstration project with best-practice elements, combining two main objectives under the Climate Action – Climate Change Mitigation 2016 priority area. Firstly, and as its priority, it aims to remove barriers posed by standards for flammable refrigerants in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) applications. As a second positive contribution, it increases the availability of suitable alternatives in those areas, by improving system design to address flammability risks to encourage the use of climate-friendly alternatives to fluorinated gases.
The project officially started in June 2017. For more information please contact

Cooling and refrigeration sector: the Cinderella of the EU’s energy system

Prof. Kostadin Fikiin, R&D Project Manager at the Technical University of Sofia explores in this article the situation of artificial cold in the global economy and reflects on the role of cooling and refrigeration in the EU energy policy. Find out more and access the full article here!

Cooling: A Sleeping Giant? Paving the way for a sustainable future

On 19 June 2017, more than 50 stakeholders interested in sustainable and clean cooling attended in Brussels the coolingEU Launch Event, entitled ‘Cooling: A Sleeping Giant? Paving the way for a sustainable future’.

general4  general5 general2

The workshop was divided in two sessions. One focused on the current state of cooling and the second one explored the characteristics of the different cooling sectors.

Andrea Voigt, EPEE, moderated the first session. The session started with a global perspective on cooling (with the keynote of Brian Holuj, UN Environment), narrowed down to a European approach (with the intervention of Ewout Deurwaarder, European Commission), then followed by an update on the situation of cooling from an academic perspective (by Prof. Kostadin Fikiin, Technical University of Sofia). Ingo Wagner, Euroheat & Power, closed the first session with a presentation introducing coolingEU and its latest developments.

The second session, moderated by Thomas Nowak, EHPA, drew a picture of the different cooling sectors, from the food sector (Cristine Weijer, ECSLA), to the manufacturing industries (Klaus Peters, ESTEP) and buildings (Anne-Claire Streck, ECTP) to demand response (Jayson Dong, SEDC).

The main takeaways from the workshop are:

  • The use of cooling covers a large variety of sectors and industries and its demand is growing rapidly, not only in Europe but also globally.
  • Without a substantial leap in visibility, an increase of research efforts, a prospering environment for sustainable solutions and strengthened cooperation of all involved, the impact on the climate and the energy system is unpredictable.
  • At the European level, cooling specific policy and reliable data are lacking.
  • The cooling sectors create jobs for almost 12 million employees around the world.
  • The refrigeration sector (including air conditioning) accounts for about 17% of the worldwide electricity consumption.
  • Giving the high energy demand for cooling, it is a matter of urgency to supply it in an efficient and sustainable way. This needs to be addressed effectively in order to achieve an efficient, competitive and secure energy system and ensure the success of the EU targets for efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. The time for action is now!

Therefore, coolingEU:

1. Calls on Member States and European Institutions to recognise the importance of cooling and to address the development of the cooling market.
2. Calls for system-level approach for heating and cooling to be included in the European energy policy.
3. Calls on the EU to raise awareness on the importance of cooling among energy planners and citizens.
4. Calls for European Institutions to increase the targeted funding of Research and Innovation in the field of sustainable and efficient cooling and invest in Research and
Development (R&D).
5. Calls for the inclusion of cooling in statistics and coordinated collections of data.


Get more information by downloading the workshop presentations. Please see below:

14h00 – 15h30:  coolingEU – preparing for the future of sustainable cooling

Moderator: Andea Voigt, EPEE

– Brian Holuj, UN Environment


– Ewout Deurwaarder, European Commission


– Prof Kostadin Fikiin, Member of the coolingEU Academic Mirror Group,Technical University Sofia


– Ingo Wagner, coolingEU Coordinator, Euroheat & Power




16h00-17h30: The future of cooling – where it is needed, how it is used

Moderator: Thomas Nowak, EHPA

– Christine Weiker, ECSLA


– Klaus Peters, ESTEP


– Anne-Claire Streck, ECTP


– Jayson Dong, SEDC


Thank you for joining us! We hope to welcome you again in one of our next events. Stay tunned!

Interview: Professor Toby Peters


Toby Peters is, among other things, a Visiting Professor at the University of Birmingham in Power and Cold Power and also at Heriot-Watt University in Transformational Innovation for Sustainability. He is the Founder of both Highview Power Storage (2004) and Dearman (2011) and he was the academic lead of the 2015 ‘Doing Cold Smarter’ Policy Commission.

First of all, we would like to thank you very much for taking the time to take part in this interview.

Q. Considering your very extensive professional and academic career in the field, why do you feel that cooling needs to be addressed now more than ever? Why is it important and why should civil society and policy-makers be concerned about the expected global increase of cooling demands?

A. Until recently cooling was the Cinderella of the energy debate – but it is a pillar of civilisation. Without cold, the supply of food, medicine and data would simply break down. But conventional technologies are also energy intensive and highly polluting, causing 10% of global CO2 emissions – three times that attributed to aviation and shipping combined. Cooling demand is also growing at a furious pace, driven by population growth, rising incomes and changing lifestyles in developing countries, and the impact of climate change.

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimate the global stock of room air conditioners will rise 700 million by 2030 and 1.6 billion by 2050.[i]  And as a result, according to another forecaster, by the end of the century on current trends and a business as normal approach, global air conditioning will consume 10,000TWh[ii], about half the electricity consumed worldwide for all purposes in 2010. While demand will be overwhelmingly driven by growth in the developing countries, but will also continue to rise in developed economies; the European Commission forecasts energy demand for building cooling in the EU will rise 70% by 2030.[iii]

If this projected demand were met by existing carbon-intensive grid electricity it would be an environmental catastrophe.  On the other hand, supplying it through green electricity would be a monumental and expensive task: to generate 10,000TWh from wind would, for example, require 4.6TW of turbine capacity, more than ten times the world’s current total.[iv] Nor is it solely a problem of the total amount of energy required; air conditioning also contributes enormously to peak electricity demand, putting huge stress on grids from the US to India.

Cooling loads are not just electrical, however.  Air conditioning in vehicles is powered by petrol or diesel, for example, and in hot countries air conditioning can consume up to 40% of a bus’ fuel. And refrigerated trucks and trailers are typically cooled by a secondary diesel engine (‘transport refrigeration unit’ or TRU) that can emit up to six times as much nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 29 times as much particulate matter (PM) as the propulsion engine pulling it around. As with air conditioning, demand for transport refrigeration is forecast to soar.

It is clearly vital to find ways to limit the impact of cooling demand growth on emissions, grid stress and cost. This will often mean storing off-peak energy, which is cheaper and lower carbon, for use at peak times, and/or converting it to some other form of energy. The question then is the form in which this off-peak energy should be stored. If the service you need is cooling, it may be far more efficient to store energy thermally to supply that service in the form of cold rather than as chemical energy in batteries.



Q. What are the next steps for the ‘greening’ of cold? How would this impact society from a social, environmental and economic perspective? Can we address the ‘greening’ of cold with existing technologies?

A. The environmental impact of conventional cooling technologies can be partially mitigated through existing efforts to improve efficiency and regulatory changes such as the phasing out of HFC refrigerant gases. but this does nothing to tackle the 75% of cooling emissions that come from energy consumption.

Evidence also suggests the energy efficiency of cooling in some sectors could be raised by 30% on the basis of best-in-class products and practices alone, but even if business barriers could be overcome, this improvement would be utterly overwhelmed by the projected 33-fold growth in developing world air conditioning demand for example or the quadrupling of transport refrigeration vehicles. We clearly need to do cold smarter, and we believe the answer is to radically improve efficiency by developing a new ‘Cold Economy’.

The Cold Economy applies a system-level analysis to recruit vast untapped resources of waste cold, ‘free’ cold, waste heat, renewable heat, and ‘wrong time’ energy – such as wind or nuclear power produced at night when demand is low – to radically improve the efficiency of cooling, and reduce its environmental impact and cost. The Cold Economy is less about individual clean cold technologies – although these are vital – and more about the efficient integration of cooling with waste and renewable resources, and with the wider energy system.

The key insight of the Cold Economy is that energy can be used, stored and moved thermally rather than necessarily converted into electricity and then converted again to provide cooling.  The Cold Economy approach is powerful because we then start by are asking ourselves ‘what is the energy service we require, and how can we provide it in the least damaging way’, rather than ‘how much electricity do I need to generate?’



Q. You are the founder of the Highview Power Storage and Dearman. Both companies design technologies using liquid air. Could you please let us know a bit more about the role of liquid air in the Dearman engine and storage? And why is liquid air so relevant?

A. The purpose of liquid air – as with batteries or hydrogen – is to store ‘wrong time’ low or zero carbon electricity, which can then be used to displace high carbon coal or gas in electricity generation and petrol or diesel in vehicles. The difference though is that it is storing cold and power, not just power.

Clean cold technologies are already being developed to run on liquid air or nitrogen. Dearman, for example, is developing its cryogen-fuelled piston engine to provide simultaneous cold and power as a Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU), and in a stationary engine to provide backup power and cooling for commercial buildings. Analysis for its report, Liquid Air on the European Highway, found that ten EU countries that operate 80% of the EU refrigerated vehicle fleet have estimated spare liquid nitrogen production capacity of around 9,000 tonnes per day, enough to cool some 70,000 refrigerated vehicles.

The use of liquid air or nitrogen for cooling need not be restricted to cold chains, but could also extend to commercial vehicle air conditioning – on buses, for instance. The cooling load in a hot climate is so great that providing air conditioning on a diesel powered bus could raise its fuel consumption by half, and in an electric bus severely reduces the vehicle’s range. A cooling system based on liquid air or nitrogen could solve both problems. In countries with unreliable electricity grids, liquid air or nitrogen could also provide back-up power and cooling for data centres, hospitals and other buildings with an absolute requirement for uninterrupted power and cooling.

Critically though liquid allows us to capture and recycle waste cold of LNG. The global trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) has increased significantly in recent years, and is vital to the energy security of a growing number of countries. Yet an extraordinary amount of the energy contained in the cryogen is simply thrown away. LNG is natural gas that has been refrigerated to -162°C to make it compact enough to transport by tanker, but this cold energy or “packaging” is normally discarded during re-gasification at the import terminal. Of the 111 LNG import terminals worldwide, only 23 do any form of cold recovery. Even here the use of the waste cold is usually limited to industrial plants close to the terminal, and only at times when LNG is actually being re-gasified, which in many cases occurs only intermittently. These factors limit the amount of cold that can be recycled, but this could be raised by converting it into novel energy vectors that store and transport it for use on demand such as liquid air. Recycling waste cold in this way would produce cheap, low carbon, zero-emission cryogenic ‘fuel’ to provide distributed cold and power for vehicles and buildings.



Q. The Birmingham Policy Commission released the study ‘Doing Cold Smarter’ (available here), what feedback have you received from the potential roadmap stakeholders (i.e. energy sector, urban planners and policy makers)? Does the Birmingham Policy Commission envision other plans for the ‘greening’ of cold or further steps with this roadmap?

 A. As the world’s population heads to 9 billion by mid-century, there is no question that we will need far more cooling. We will need it to conserve food, water and other resources; tackle poverty, hunger, health and climate change; and underpin growth and development. But if the new cold chains, data centres and air conditioners are cooled with conventional technologies, we will only solve one set of problems by creating another – quite possibly an environmental catastrophe.

There is an urgent need to resolve the cooling dilemma: to provide clean cold, through novel low carbon and zero-emission technologies and new approaches such as the ‘cold economy’ to secure all the benefits of cooling whilst mitigating the downside. Of course, clean cold is no panacea, but it is an essential pre-condition for sustainable development and we need to make it an integral part of our energy roadmap.

Research into cooling has historically failed to match its economic importance and environmental impact. Across the EU as a whole, annual public Refrigeration and Air Conditioning R&D funding has averaged £23.5 million per year or 0.22% of total funding for engineering research and scarcely 0.2% in the UK.

However this shortfall has begun to be rectified, through a series of major public and investments into research into clean cold and the Cold Economy.   More and more clean cold technologies are securing grant funding and in the UK.  And for example, we recently saw the launch of the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), a major collaboration between six Midlands universities and over fifty companies to tackle some of the biggest energy challenges. ERA secured £180 million in funding from government and industry to cover three themes, one of which is thermal energy (t-ERA) – explicitly including the development of the global Cold Economy led by teams at the University of Birmingham and Loughborough University

The CryoHub is a €7 million European grant for pan-European consortium of researchers led by London South Bank University. The three year project will research the potential efficiency gains that might be achieved by integrating Liquid Air Energy Storage with existing cooling and heating equipment found in refrigerated warehouses and food processing plants – a good example of the Cold Economy approach. It will use large scale liquid air energy storage to absorb local intermittent renewable generation and supply it back to the grid, while simultaneously providing cooling to the cold store and reducing its peak power requirements. Project partners include universities and companies from the UK, Belgium, France, Spain and Bulgaria. But there is still much to do to ensure we think thermally not just electrically and cold demand is designed into the energy system of tomorrow.



Q. As a coordinator of the coolingEU academic mirror group, which aspects of cooling do you think need to be tackled at the EU level to raise awareness on the importance of cooling?

A. I think we need to look at the global role of cooling. Cold is key to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Billions of people in developing countries live without cooling and suffer the consequences daily through hunger and ill-health. As just one example, the lack of adequate ‘cold chains’ of refrigerated warehousing and transport causes two million vaccine preventable deaths each year, and the waste of 200 million tonnes of food – with consequences far beyond hunger and inflated food prices. Food wastage occupies a land area almost twice the size of Australia[v]; consumes 250km3 of water per year, three times the volume of Lake Geneva; and emits 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2, making it the third biggest emitter after the US and China.[vi]

Cold chains don’t just reduce post-harvest food loss, but also allow subsistence farmers to earn more by maintaining the quality of their produce and selling it further afield, especially when this means they can reach more distant cities and major centres of consumption. The same lettuce sold for 10 rupees at the farm gate in Haryana state in India can fetch 100 rupees or more in downtown Delhi – but only if the farmer can get it there in the same condition as one imported by air-freight from a highly developed global agri-business and cold chain. What’s more, the market connectivity afforded by of a cold chain enables and incentivises farmers to raise their output because they will earn more from what they produce; whereas its absence means that any effort to increase yield will also cause higher wastage – so dousing the incentive.

But increasing subsistence farmers’ income by expanding the use of conventional, highly polluting cold chain technologies would simply mitigate one problem by significantly worsening another.

Additional information can be found in the following links:

  • University of Birmingham document on Clean cold and the Global Goals here
  • University of Birmingham’s post on: Green, White and Blue: Why India Needs a Third Agricultural Revolution here


[i] Benefits of Leapfrogging to Superefficiency and Low Global Warming Potential Refrigerants in Room Air Conditioning, Nihar Shah et al, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, October 2015,


[iii] European Commission, pers.comm.

 [iv] 10,000TWh / 8760 = 1.14TW. 1.14TW x 4 = 4.6TW. Assuming 25% average global load factor: Current global wind capacity 432GW:

[v] Land used to produce wasted food is 1.4 billion hectares, cf Food wastage footprint, Impacts on natural resources, FAO, 2013, 1.4 billion hectares = 14,000,000km2. Australia = 7,686,850km2, cf

[vi] Food wastage footprint, Impacts on natural resources, FAO, 2013,

INDIGO: New generation of Intelligent Efficient District Cooling Systems


INDIGO is a Horizon 2020 EU-funded project carried out by 6 partners from across Europe and one from the United Arab Emirates that aims to develop a more efficient, intelligent and economical generation of District Cooling (DC) systems by improving the existing system planning, control and management tools.

This will be achieved through two specific objectives:

  • The first one is to widen the use of DC systems and motivate the competitiveness of European DC market by the development of two open-source tools: 1) a planning tool for DC systems with the aim of supporting their optimal design; and 2) a modelling library with thermo-fluid dynamic models of DC System components which will provide the designers detailed information about their physical behaviour.
  • The second objective is to reduce primary energy consumption. This will be addressed by a ground breaking DC system management strategy focused mainly on energy efficiency maximization and on energy cost minimization.

The main characteristic of this strategy is a predictive management capability. However, it will also address other challenges, such as the integration of different types of Energy Sources (including Renewables) and suitable coupling between generation, storage and demand. Intelligent and innovative component controllers (Predictive Controllers) will also be developed at all DC system levels. Some of them include embedded self-learning algorithms, allowing components to respond properly to the established set-points. In addition, open source tools and guidelines will be developed within the project in order to provide more confidence and, consequently, more openness when developing and using DC systems.

INDIGO developments will be validated in a real District Heating and Cooling installation with appropriate conditions for testing the new functionalities.

The project started in March 2016 and will last three and a half years.



Don’t miss out our public materials:

LinkedIn: @INDIGOprojectEU

Twitter: @INDIGOprojectEU