INDIA: An Indian company developing a retrofittable thermal energy storage technology has received funding of US$900,000 to expand its manufacturing, sales and servicing capabilities.
Noida-based company Inficold, a startup supported by the UK charity Shell Foundation, has received the funding from the Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund (RVCF) and other unnamed individuals.
The primary challenges addressed by Inficold are grid dependency, diesel and unreliable electric batteries which make cold chain cost prohibitive for developing countries. Shell Foundation has supported the company for last four years in various product development activities.
The use of solar for cooling applications is challenging due to unavailability of cost-effective energy storage. In addition, inefficient solar off-grid inverters and high starting surge load of compressor makes the solar integration on cooling system infeasible.
Inficold has developed inverterless solar integration for refrigeration systems, which reduces the overall system cost and improves solar utilisation. Electricity generated by photovoltaic panels is stored in form of ice to provide cooling during non-solar hours. It is said to be capable of being applied to virtually any cooling needs, be it milk, cold storage, air conditioning and vaccine refrigeration, without making any major modifications to existing cooling hardware.
The current product portfolio includes modular cold storage, instant milk coolers and bulk milk coolers. It provides round the clock cooling with just seven hours of grid/solar power. The modular cold storage units store 5-100MT of farm produce in 4-16ºC temperature range, whereas milk coolers cool 200-10,000 litres of milk on a daily basis.
With installations in more than 17 Indian states so far and a strong presence in North Eastern states including Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura, Inficold plans to ramp up production by over 10 times. Inficold’s in house R&D centre is also said to be developing other sustainable cooling solutions in air conditioning space.
The company is partnering with multiple channel partners to strengthen the local presence in sales, marketing, and installation. The company has also started leveraging international market and has few installations in African subcontinent. The company plans sales of over 1000 units in the next two years with a focus towards providing sustainable cooling solutions for farm level cooling in agriculture segment.