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John O | July 2018

Report indicates that global energy consumption will skyrocket due to cooling needs

By Josh Perry, Editor


A new report from the University of Birmingham (U.K.) has declared that there will be more than 14 billion cooling appliances in use worldwide by 2050 (quadruple the current total), which will require five times as much energy consumption dedicated to cooling.


Air conditioner sales are going to increase exponentially over the next 30 years and skyrocket global energy consumption for cooling, according to a new report.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The report, entitled “A Cool World – Defining the Energy Conundrum of ‘Cooling for All’,” detailed that Paris Climate targets of global temperature increases of only 2°C would require limiting energy consumption for cooling to 6,300 TWh. By 2050, and without technology or efficiency enhancements, energy consumption for cooling will be 19,600 TWh.


“Along with aiming to reduce overall demand, if we are to meet our climate goals a whole new system approach to cooling is needed, recognizing available free and waste cold and heat resources and incorporating new technologies, data connectivity, thermal energy storage to meet demand in the most efficient way,” the article explained.


Some of the conclusions from the report include:


  • Under the current scenario, over the next 30 years 19 cooling appliances will be sold every second; but this will not deliver ‘Cooling for All’.
  • By 2050, we would require a total of 14 billion cooling appliances globally to meet demand – an additional 4.5 billion appliances compared to the baseline forecast of 9.5bn– or four times as many pieces of cooling equipment than are in use today.
  • To “green” the volume of electricity required would consume more than 80% of the International Energy Agency’s projected total renewables capacity for 2050 and more than 100% in the event we do not achieve accelerated technology progress.


The researchers promote local education programs, called “Living Labs,” to test new technologies and to promote sustainable solutions. They explained that high-efficiency cooling technologies are a necessity, but there also needs to be system-level thinking, harnessing of waste resources, and ensuring that cooling solutions meet specific community needs rather than adopting a “one size fits all” mentality.


It continued, “Given the urgency and need to combine engineering and social sciences for an integrated approach that includes the behavior of individuals, technical solutions, and the business models to make those solutions viable, they also urge the creation of an international center for excellence: its aim to deliver global collaboration on cooling - enhance awareness and understanding of the challenge of cooling; to build a roadmap and deliver the innovation pipeline; provide skills and education, and lead on trialing new technologies at scale.”


Read the full report at https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/college-eps/energy/Publications/2018-clean-cold-report.pdf.

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