The University of Birmingham has brought together environmentalists and industrialists in a bid to help tackle issues linked to increased demand for cooling.
Representatives from the university’s Indian ‘clean cold’ partner Shakti Foundation, the National Clean Cold Centre for Development, and various business leaders gathered at the British High Commission in New Delhi for a networking lunch to explore opportunities for further joint projects.
Effective refrigeration is essential for preserving food and medicine, but increased demand for artificial cooling, resulting in the use of chemical refrigerants and fossil fuels, is contributing to climate change.
Earlier this year the University of Birmingham and the State Government of Haryana signed an agreement to develop centres of excellence for clean cold chains, and help map a blueprint and delivery plan for sustainable cooling across the north Indian state.
The university is a world leader in “clean cold” expertise and has scientists working alongside experts around the globe to tackle the cooling challenge.
Professor Robin Mason, pro-vice-chancellor (international), co-hosted the networking event with Rhiannon Harries, director UK Trade and Innovation at the British High Commission India.
He said: “The University of Birmingham is a civic university with a global outlook. There exists a special bond between Birmingham and India which stretches back to the arrival of our first Indian students in 1909.
“The launch this year of the University of Birmingham India Institute affirms our deep and continued commitment to engagement with this great country. I am delighted to welcome so many influential people today.
“Together with them, we are looking to grow our contribution to Indian society; as our researchers forge links with their counterparts, we hope to change millions of lives for the better.”
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi wants to see farmers’ income double by 2022 through the implementation of new agricultural policies. According to Professor Toby Peters, engineering and physical sciences professor in cold economy at the University of Birmingham, sustainable cooling will be instrumental in achieving this target.
He said: “A seamless ‘cold chain’ is needed to move food swiftly from farm to consumer – reducing food loss to raise farmers’ income and give them bigger markets, whilst expanding their selling range.
“But at the same time, it must be clean and sustainable cooling. Climate change and toxic air pollution must be tackled by reducing use of conventional, highly polluting cooling technologies and adopting zero-emission technologies.”
Main image: Professor Robin Mason and Rhiannon Harries welcome guests to the networking lunch. ©University of Birmingham