UK: The University of Birmingham has today announced the launch of a new policy commission entitled ‘Doing Cold Smarter’, that will investigate how the growing demand for ‘cold’ and cooling can be met without causing environmental damage.
Lord Teverson who is the Liberal Democrat's energy and climate change spokesman in the Lords, is to lead the research project at the University of Birmingham into how new technologies and innovative business models could meet the world's growing demand for refrigeration and air conditioning without increasing carbon emissions.
With cooling accounting for 14 per cent of the UK's power demands and emerging economies requiring ever more air conditioning, Teverson said the review would aim to make suggestions to ministers on how to fill the gap in policies for addressing rising cooling demand,
In a statement Teverson said, "Cold is a vital part of energy policy for the future, but that has been little explored.
"The demand for cooling is rising globally, and if we fill this urgent need with existing technologies it would have a detrimental effect, not only on the environment, but also for our energy supply."
A report published by the from the Carbon Trust last month suggested 10,000 people could be employed in the cold economy by 2030, developing new technologies from the recycling of waste cold air from industrial processes.
The Birmingham report will also look at the use of "liquid air" - a technology that chills air to below -196ºC, at which point it turns to liquid and can be stored in unpressurised vessels. As the air slowly warms up, it expands rapidly; creating pressure that is used to drive an engine piston, effectively providing a form of energy storage.
Michael Ayres, group-managing director at Dearman, a UK company that is developing liquid air technology, said tackling cooling demand will be vital for meeting the world's climate change goals. "The world faces a stark choice," he said in a statement. "We either address the rocketing need for cooling using traditional fossil-fuelled machinery and live with the environmental consequences. Or we adopt new thinking, invest in emerging technologies and reap the economic and environmental benefits."
The policy commission aims to find ways the UK could become a leader in these emerging technologies.