Cold may have been ignored but is vitally important to many aspects of modern life. An effective cold chain, for example, is essential for tackling problems such as food
waste, food security, water conservation and public health. Cooling is also critical for many less obvious but essential functions: data centres couldn’t operate without it, nor for example MRI scanners in medicine or superconductors in power electronics. Cooling also provides modern levels of comfort in hot countries – and can make the difference between some regions being habitable or not.
At the same time, vast amounts of cold are wasted – for instance during the regasification of LNG – which could in principle be recycled to satisfy some of this demand and start to reduce the environmental damage caused by cooling. Such a system-level approach – which starts by asking what energy services we need, and what is the least damaging way to provide them, rather than accepting existing practices as a fait accompli – has recently been coined the ‘Cold Economy’. It is clear the Cold Economy could unleash a wide range of innovative clean cold technologies and provide energy resilience, economic growth and environmental benefits, but there is an urgent need to develop a system-level analysis of this problem and the potential solutions to inform both industry and policymakers. The Birmingham Policy Commission: Doing Cold Smarter was convened to start this work.
|Publisher||University of Birmingham|
|Commissioning body||The Birmingham Policy Commission|
|Number of pages||84|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|