New Delhi: While political will to tackle climate change is still weak, the will of creative and energetic entrepreneurs working in the field of climate innovation is on the increase. WWF is encouraging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are developing innovative technologies and processes which can contribute to fighting climate change.
WWF’s Climate Solvers programme recognizes climate innovations in key countries. While Sweden has been honoring such companies for the past five years, it has now been expanded to other countries as well. In India WWF has announced its first selection of Climate Solver entrepreneurs under the Climate Solver Award 2012. The selection underscores both the benefit and opportunity for businesses to contribute to mitigate Greenhouse Gas and enhance energy access.
Over 400 million people in India, which is nearly half of those living in India’s rural areas, still have no access to electricity. Energy access is key for sustainable economic development. The challenge is to drive a low carbon economy while meeting the aspirations of equitable development. With increasing energy demand, erratic energy supply and failure of traditional delivery mechanisms, access to clean and quality energy remains an issue. Many villages in India are not electrified or only partially electrified. This has resulted in stunted socio-economic growth in these villages which largely depend on kerosene for lighting and wood or animal dung for cooking in an ill maintained environment that makes them susceptible to respiratory diseases. At the same time, India is among the top 5 global emitters of carbon dioxide along with China, the United States, the European Union and the Russian Federation.
Climate Solver is a climate innovations platform developed by WWF to strengthen the development and widespread use of low carbon technologies, which radically or transformatively reduce carbon dioxide emissions or provide enhanced energy access to the poor. The platform will stimulate the diffusion of innovative low carbon technologies and also generate awareness about them along with the overall value of innovation as an immediate and practical solution to climate change.
Speaking at the event, Mr Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF India said, “With a platform like Climate Solver, we are hoping to provide simple and innovative solutions to counter the effects of climate change which can be scaled up over time”.
Innovation is typically a new way of doing something while increasing the value for a customer. WWF believes that this customer value must include radically reduced carbon emissions, energy access and compatibility with a transition to a renewable energy future as described in WWF’s Energy Report. Climate innovations are often primarily associated with mitigation activities but infrastructure that enables more renewables and energy access solutions are also considered climate innovation, as are innovative financial services that can scale these to markets faster.
Climate innovation is also about business opportunities and poverty alleviation. It’s about avoiding wasteful consumption and job generation that make emissions in our society shrink. The transition from a high-fossil-fuel economy to a clean, renewable energy economy requires new solutions, products, systems and services which will radically reduce climate impact. Such climate innovations are numerous, proven and available. The question is how to employ them at speed and scale, globally.
Innovations that have a good business case can instill confidence for policy makers to increase ambition so that these innovations can grow and create more jobs. Investors, business and policy makers all need to play proactive roles for major commercialization of climate positive solutions carried by entrepreneurs.
Mr. Singh added that, “Climate Solver looks to promote innovative low carbon technologies. In the first year itself, WWF-India received a number entries from small and medium enterprises working across a range of climate change innovations, each of which was unique, intuitive, replicable and economically viable in its own way.”
Climate Solver 2012 Awardees:
1. Energy Access: Smart Microgrid developed by Gram Power (India) Pvt. Ltd.
2. Energy Access: Paribesh Chula developed by Enfragy Solutions India Pvt. Ltd.
3. GHG Reduction: Air to Air Heat Exchanger for Cooling developed by Toro Cooling Systems Pvt. Ltd.
4. GHG Reduction: Geothermal Building Cooling Systems developed by Green India Building Systems and Services Pvt. Ltd. (GIBSS)
Developed by: Gram Power (India) Pvt. Ltd.
Category: Energy Access
IEA estimates that the number of people without electricity is close to 1.4 billion. This implies that every fifth household on our planet does not have access to electricity. As the global population grows this problem could only increase. Given that fossil fuels is a limited resources, it is necessary and wise to develop opportunities to provide people with electricity through renewable resources, which could mainly be solar, wind, biomass and others. Efficiently managed through a smart microgrid such a solution will tap inexhaustible energy resources and lead to both a reduction in GHG emissions and enhance the quality of life of people.
WWF envisions a 2050 scenario where all the energy needs of the planet could be met through renewable energy sources. Applied to small villages lacking connection to the grid, WWF estimates show that smart microgrids has the ability to provide 48 million people with clean electricity by the year 2022.
Paribesh Chulha (Bio-pellet based fuel efficient cookstove)
Developed by: Enfragy Solutions India Pvt. Ltd.
Category: Energy Access
IEA estimates that there are 2.75 billion people worldwide who depend on traditional fuels for cooking. The traditional cooking apparatus along with the use of traditional fuels cause health hazards and has negative impact on surrounding ecosystem. The efficiencies of these practices are also low. Efficient cook-stoves address the problem by enhancing the efficiency and thus reducing the emissions. However in cases where these are supported by a supply chain of bio-waste pellets these become both sustainable and cleaner. Enfragy’sinnovation concept is addressing both these issues and could build up further. Both the sourcing and the distribution at local level effectively build a supply chain which may eventually mimic the coal supply chain of yesteryears while benefitting the climate.
Estimates show that assuming that efficcient cookstoves fuelled by bio-waste pellets will be able to reach only 25% of its target market in the developing world, at least 30 million people could benefit from this solution by the year 2022.
Geothermal Building Cooling System
Developed by: Green India Building Systems & Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (GIBSS)
Category: GHG reduction
Comfort cooling is an increasing load on the electricity demand side in tropical climates. As the living standards improve in these areas these loads are bound to grow. In India some 30% of the power demand comes from the buildings sector. Additionally water resources are also getting stressed. Thus there is a need from the users and owners of building to reduce the energy required for air conditioning and to reduce the water consumption as well. Geothermal based cooling replaces the rejection of heat to ambient air, by rejection of heat to ground in both new constructions and in retrofit projects. Depending upon the climatic conditions and the kind of sub-terrain various strategies could be implemented to make the system work. Such a system can also be used for concurrent heating and cooling in industrial settings and leads to a two-fold increase in its efficiency.
Estimates show that if geothermal cooling for commercial buildings would replace on out of three conventional systems WWF estimates there is a potential to reduce annual GHG emission by 20 million tonnes from year 2022.
Air to Air Heat Exchanger
Developed by: Toro Cooling Systems Pvt. Ltd.
Category: GHG reduction
Process air conditioning is an important part of the air conditioning market. Various sectors like food processing, hatcheries, pharmaceutical etc have a requirement for both temperature and humidity control. The innovation based on air-to-air heat exchange being propagated by Toro cooling can – either in standalone configuration or in hybrid configuration (working with a small conventional chiller) – provide the benefits of both accurate temperature and humidity control. Downsized versions could also be used in domestic applications. The process is also able to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals, while providing cooling at a much lower energy consumption than a standard air-conditioning equipment.
Estimates show that if these air-to-air heat exchangers would replace 1/3 of conventional solutions in targeted sectors WWF estimates it has the potential to reduce annual GHG emissions by 21 million tonnes from the year 2022.