The report highlights the potential environmental danger of booming global demand for cold.
The environmental challenge caused by booming global demand for cooling could be far greater than previously thought. That is the finding of a new report, by Dearman, the clean cold and power technology company.
The report indicates that due to changing demographics, particularly in Asia, the number of refrigerated vehicles on the road could feasibly reach 15.5 million by 2025, up from less than 3 million in 2013.
Demand for cooling in all its forms - air conditioning, data, industry, food and medicine - is soaring worldwide. Growth is nowhere stronger than in rapidly industrialising markets, such as India and China, where investment in cold chains and cooling is booming to service the lifestyles of the fast growing urban middle classes and reduce high levels of post-harvest food loss.
The global cold chain is expected to grow 13% per year; the rapidly emerging markets in Asia and South America are all seeing 25%+ year-on-year growth. India alone projects it needs to spend more than $15 billion on its cold chain over the next five years. In fact the growth in global demand for all forms of cooling to 2030 could equate to three times the current generating capacity of the UK.
However, the pollution from cooling is not recognised. As one example, a diesel transport refrigeration unit consumes up to 20% of a refrigerated vehicle’s diesel but can emit up to six times as much the NOx (nitrogen oxides) and 29 times as much the PM (particulate matter) of the truck’s modern engine. Diesel gensets are the go-to technology to keep air-conditioning and cooling running in emerging nations.
Sustainable and clean cooling is an urgent global challenge and a new, multi-billion pound market. The Cold and Power Campaign is championing a novel, UK-developed technology – liquid air – as an economic and environmental solution for harnessing renewables and wasted energy to deliver clean power and cooling economically.
Independent research suggests the market potential is ~175,000 liquid air engines per annum by 2020 generating net revenues to the UK of ~£710 million, net GVA of ~£130 million, and over 2,000 jobs (equal to hydrogen) if manufactured here. This could increase to more than 1.2 million liquid air engines produced globally by the mid twenties.
30% - 50% of global food production is wasted globally, while one in eight people in the world go to bed hungry every night
The International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) estimates that more than 200 million tonnes of perishable foods could be preserved if developing countries had the same level of cold chain as found in the developed world
Demand for food is projected to grow by 40% by 2030. According to current trends, India would be able to meet only 59% of its total food demand; in East Asia, only 67% of the food demand will be met from within the region
The world's urban population is expected to exceed six billion 2045, from approximately 3.5 billion today
The global middle class is expected to grow to 4.9 billion by 2030 from 1.8 billion today. The Indian middle class is expected to swell to 475 million – larger than the combined populations of the US, Japan, and the UK
The growth in global demand for all forms of cooling to 2030 could equate to three times the current generating capacity of the UK
The world could require 12-14 million new TRUs (transport refrigeration units) to meet aspirational demands of new middle classes
India alone projects it needs to spend more than $15 billion on its cold chain over the next five years
Food wastage consumes 250km3 of water – three times the volume of Lake Geneva
23% of fertiliser is used on food which is subsequently wasted
Food wastage occupies 1.4 billion hectares of land – almost 30% of the world’s agricultural land
Food waste accounts for 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon emissions – the third biggest emitter after the USA and China
Transport refrigeration units consume up to 20% of a truck’s diesel and emit much higher levels of harmful pollutants than a truck engine – up to 29 times as much PM (particulate matter) and 6 times as much NOx (nitrogen oxides)
If trends in refrigerant usage continue, it has been projected that HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) would be responsible for nearly half of all global greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050