Ask the Climate Startup series an interactive series we run at CLIMAFIX that derives key insights from innovative climate investors and startups on many different aspects of their journey.

This series is done as part of the CLIMAFIX Summit 2023, India’s largest climate startup summit, organized by CLIMAFIX & Energy Consortium – IIT Madras.

In this post, we have Madhusudhan Rapole of Oorja Energy Engineering Service Pvt. Ltd. sharing his perspectives.

CLIMAFIX thanks Madhusudhan Rapole for his valuable inputs.

Why will India be the most important country to watch out for cooling and air conditioning-related CO2 emissions?

In the era of global warming and climate change, discussions surrounding carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have never been more critical. One often overlooked but significant contributor to these emissions is the cooling and air conditioning sector. While many countries are making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, India is emerging as one of the most crucial countries to watch when it comes to cooling and air conditioning-related CO2 emissions. In this blog post, we will delve into why India deserves our attention in this context, what steps can be taken to mitigate the impact, and how innovative technologies like water chillers are playing a crucial role.

The Growth of the Cooling and Air Conditioning Sector in India

India’s economy has been rapidly growing over the past few decades, resulting in a surge in the demand for cooling and air conditioning. According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), India’s electricity consumption for cooling is projected to increase from 90 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2016 to a staggering 490 TWh by 2050. This growth signifies the substantial impact of cooling on India’s electricity consumption.

  • India’s electricity consumption for cooling is expected to grow more than fivefold from 2016 to 2050.
  • Projections indicate that by 2050, cooling is expected to consume nearly 45% of India’s electricity, highlighting its significant role in the country’s energy landscape.

The Energy Intensive Nature of Cooling

Cooling and air conditioning systems are energy-intensive, and India’s reliance on coal for electricity generation exacerbates the carbon emissions problem. Currently, coal accounts for a significant portion of India’s energy mix. According to the Global Carbon Atlas, India was the third-largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world in 2019, with approximately 2.65 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions.

  • India is one of the world’s top carbon dioxide emitters, largely due to its reliance on coal.
  • Cooling and air conditioning contribute to the energy demand, increasing carbon emissions.

The correlation between cooling, air conditioning, and climate change is a cause for concern. As more cooling systems are installed to cope with rising temperatures, the energy consumption of these systems increases, leading to a surge in CO2 emissions. However, the use of water chillers can mitigate some of these emissions by providing efficient cooling solutions.

  • The growing energy demand for cooling in India exacerbates the global problem of climate change.
  • Implementing efficient cooling solutions like water chillers can help reduce emissions

Addressing the cooling and air conditioning-related CO2 emissions in India is not just about limiting the growth of the sector but also about finding sustainable solutions to meet the increasing demand. This involves a multi-pronged approach:

1.   Energy Efficiency:   Encouraging the use of energy-efficient cooling systems, such as water chillers, can significantly reduce energy consumption and emissions.

2.   Renewable Energy:   Promoting the use of renewable energy sources for electricity generation can help reduce the carbon footprint of cooling.

3.   Regulations and Standards:   Implementing stricter energy efficiency standards and regulations for cooling systems, including water chillers, can encourage the use of eco-friendly technologies.

4.   Public Awareness:   Raising awareness among the public about the environmental impact of cooling and the benefits of energy-efficient systems, including water chillers, can drive change at the consumer level.

5.   Research and Innovation:   Investing in research and innovation to develop more sustainable cooling technologies, such as advanced water chiller systems, is crucial for long-term solutions.

Energy-Efficient Cooling Technologies and Options

One crucial aspect of addressing cooling-related CO2 emissions is the adoption of energy-efficient cooling technologies and options. These solutions aim to provide the necessary cooling while minimizing energy consumption and reducing the associated carbon footprint. Here are some notable examples:

Water-Cooled Systems: Water-cooled air conditioning systems use water as a cooling medium, enhancing efficiency compared to traditional air-cooled systems. They are particularly effective in large-scale commercial and industrial applications. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), water chillers can reduce electricity consumption for cooling by up to 50% compared to traditional air conditioning systems.

Radiant Cooling: Radiant cooling systems use radiant panels or tubes to cool indoor spaces by absorbing heat through the floor, walls, or ceiling. They are energy-efficient and provide comfortable and even cooling.

Waste Heat Recovery: Waste heat recovery systems capture excess heat generated by industrial processes or equipment and repurpose it for space cooling. This reduces energy consumption and emissions.

Adsorption Chillers: Adsorption chillers use a thermally driven process to provide cooling without using electricity. They are often powered by low-grade waste heat or solar energy, making them highly sustainable.

There are many other innovative technologies to fight the cause


India’s rapid economic growth and the increasing demand for cooling and air conditioning make it a pivotal country to watch when it comes to cooling-related CO2 emissions. The impact of these emissions on climate change cannot be underestimated. However, with electricity consumption for cooling projected to grow exponentially, it’s crucial for India to take proactive measures, including the adoption of efficient cooling technologies like water chillers, to reduce its carbon footprint. By doing so, India can become a model for sustainable cooling practices and lead the way in mitigating the global challenge of climate change.