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CleanTech startup has cool $1 million in its sights

A CleanTech startup co-founded by a Cambridge University academic is tilting at a minimum $1 million global prize for transformative cooling technology.

Barocal Ltd, co-founded by Dr Xavier Moya of the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy and based on his research, has already clinched $200k by reaching the final of the Global Cooling Prize.

Barocal is the sole finalist from the UK and EU from a worldwide entry of 139 enterprises spanning 31 different countries.

The company is commercialising barocaloric cooling technology to satisfy low carbon refrigeration requirements and provide a unique, efficient solution for Zero GWP (Greenhouse Warming Potential) cooling.

Barocaloric cooling technology exploits materials that undergo large thermal changes on application and removal of pressure.

Barocal is focused on partnering with leading refrigeration, air conditioning, and engineering-systems suppliers to use barocaloric cooling technology which supports effective Zero GWP cooling by eliminating greenhouse gases and stay ahead of Kigali, EU F- Gas and EU MAC emission reductions.

In addition to Barocal, the eight finalist teams include three of the world’s largest air conditioning manufacturers – Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Zhuhai, Daikin AirConditioning India Private Ltd., and Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. – as well as startups and smaller corporations, Transaera Inc, M2 Thermal Solutions, Kraton Corporation and S&S Design Startup Solution Pvt. Ltd.

The $200,000 already awarded to the finalists is to develop and ship their prototypes to India for testing in the summer of 2020.

Established by a coalition led by the Government of India along with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the Global Cooling Prize is an international innovation competition designed to stimulate invention and production of super-efficient and climate-friendly residential cooling solutions.

The winner will be announced in November 2020 based on the performance of the finalist prototypes and awarded at least $1 million in prize money for commercialisation and scaling support. The competitors showcased technologies that reduce or eliminate refrigerants linked to climate change – advances that will be vital as the number of room air conditioners nearly quadruples by 2050.

  • Barocal says its technology has a number of key benefits:
  • Organic Barocaloric solids provide 20°C of cooling at moderate pressure
  • No source of carbon emissions (Zero GWP)
  • Efficient, reversible cycle
  • Compact solid refrigerant. No source of leaks for greenhouse gases
  • Can be located in public accessible areas (no flammability or toxic concerns)
  • Cooling capacity to match gas compression refrigeration

Barocal co-founder Dr Moya said: “As the world gets hotter, the number of air conditioners will skyrocket. Cooling equipment already devours 20 per cent of the world’s electricity. We must make it more efficient.

“Like traditional devices, Barocal’s technology harnesses pressure-induced thermal changes, but it uses materials that are more efficient and do not contribute to global warming”.

Population growth, urbanization and rising income levels, compounded by a warming planet, are driving unprecedented growth in demand for comfort cooling globally, from 1.2 billion room air conditioners (RACs) in the world today to a projected 4.5 billion by 2050.

Over the next three decades, 10 room air conditioners will be sold every second in markets around the globe.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Government of India, Dr Harsh Vardhan, who announced the finalists in New Delhi, said: “Innovation is the foundation for development and growth. This important initiative aligns with the objectives of the India Cooling Action Plan that the Government of India officially released this year to bolster our R & D efforts in global climate leadership and strengthens our commitment to accelerate clean energy innovation”.


Also published on Medium.

Published inStartups

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