Bangkok, 23 April 2018 – A cooling system inspired by the structure of a beehive and developed in India has won a US$10,000 startup grant from UN Environment. The biomimicry-based air cooler was designed by Monish Siripurapu, an architect based in New Delhi.
As a winner of the Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge in the Energy category, Siripurapu will also receive business and marketing training from global experts, and pitch to win an additional US$10,000 prize to bolster his business.
UN Environment’s Director for the Asia-Pacific Region, Dechen Tsering, said, “We are at a tipping point in the energy sector and the shift to renewables is more important than ever. But we can’t ignore the need to reduce our consumption. New ideas like this air cooling system that uses zero refrigerants and a fraction of the power are showing us the value of ingenuity as we aim to make our lifestyles more sustainable.”
The problem Siripurapu set out to solve is massive. The building sector in India consumes about 40% of generated electricity, a proportion that is expected to increase to 76% by 2040. Use of refrigeration and air conditioning systems is a major part of this energy demand. Not only do these units consume a lot of energy, they also employ powerful greenhouse gases, hydrofluorocarbons, to achieve cooling effects.
Siripurapu’s device passes water through earthen cones that facilitate evaporative cooling, using little energy and no refrigerants. The system is inspired by the design of a beehive but has been customized through advanced computational analysis and modern calibration techniques. A pilot project in Uttar Pradesh recorded a temperature of 36 degrees Celsius around the device, while the external ambient temperature was 50 degrees Celsius. Since the technology is devised from earthenware, Siripurapu is hoping it could also revitalize a fading traditional craft. Workshops are planned for Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and overseas in Abu Dhabi.
Siripurapu said, “Anyone who lives in India knows the heat can be debilitating. We wanted to come up with a cooling system that’s affordable, aesthetically pleasing and functional. Since air conditioners consume so much energy, the cost savings from our device are substantial and we are also helping to fight climate change at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.”
About Monish Siripurapu
Monish Siripurapu is the founder principal of Ant Studio based out of New Delhi. He graduated from the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi in 2009. He received the prestigious JN Tata scholarship in 2015 for his PG Diploma in Robotic Fabrication from Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), Spain. In collaboration with his colleagues, he has won many national and international architectural competitions and has been published in renowned architectural journals.
About the Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge
The Asia-Pacific Low-Carbon Lifestyles Challenge aims to mobilize and support young people with business ideas on how to foster energy-efficient, low-waste and low-carbon lifestyles.
12 winners each receive a US$10,000 to support their business venture focusing on one of three different categories: mobility, plastic waste and energy.
This is an initiative funded by the Ministry of Environment Japan, as part of SWITCH-Asia’s Regional Sustainable Consumption and Production Policy Advocacy Component, the Asia-Pacific Regional Roadmap on Sustainable Consumption and Production and One Planet. This initiative is carried out together with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, The Thai National Science and Technology Development Agency and Sasin Entrepreneurship Center.