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UK backs sustainable cooling in Indian hotels

INDIA: Six new cooling technologies are to be trialled at hotels in India, backed by up to $500,000 in funding from the UK government.

Six cutting-edge innovators have been selected to partner with Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), to pilot new cost-effective, climate-smart cooling technologies, as part of the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) TechEmerge programme.

The IFC programme, which is funded by the UK Government’s International Climate Finance (ICF), matches innovators across the world with leading companies in emerging markets to accelerate the adoption of solutions that make cooling more affordable and energy-efficient, while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

The technologies – five being developed by Indian companies and one by an Israeli company – are being piloted at seven IHCL Taj hotels over the next 12-18 months.

The projects

Kolkata-based innovator Paharpur Cooling Towers is trialling an energy-efficient, low approach cooling tower at the Taj Palace in New Delhi and the Taj Exotica in Goa, to test performance in both dry and humid conditions. This solution aims to lower energy consumption for cooling by up to 10%, especially during peak times, with a payback period of less than two years. In addition, 45% of materials used in the tower are recyclable. 

Founded in 1948, Paharpur is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of wet and dry cooling technology with exports to over 60 countries

New Delhi-based innovator Zenatix is partnering with IHCL to field-test an IoT-based energy and asset management solution called ZenConnect at two IHCL properties—the Taj Connemara in Chennai and the Taj Exotica in Goa. The solution will monitor the existing electrical system, lower the costs and consumption of energy used for cooling, and improve the planning and implementation of preventive maintenance to extend the life and performance of assets, while reducing breakdowns.  

Israeli innovator Elgressy Engineering Services will pilot an automated, plug-and-play electrochemical scale treatment system on cooling towers at the Taj Holiday Village in Goa. In addition to preventing scaling, corrosion and algae, the innovation is said to reduce water consumption by up to 20%, and provides wastewater for irrigation. 

Desiccant Rotors International from Haryana is field-testing an air filtration system at IHCL’s Taj Palace in New Delhi. The solution is expected to provide an efficient fresh air purification system for the hotel lobby that captures particulate and gaseous pollutants, while also maintaining positive pressure to address infiltration issues.

New Delhi-based company IoTomation Ecotech are field-testing an IoT platform for health, safety, and sustainable built environments, called Be – IoT, at the Taj Jai Mahal Hotel in Jaipur and the Taj Palace in New Delhi. The solution provides an integrated dashboard for all hotel equipment and systems and makes them communicable. The resulting AI-driven data analytics aims to improve energy efficiency, predictive and preventive maintenance, and operational efficiency, with a payback period of less than two years. 

IHCL is piloting a low approach cooling tower from Mumbai-based company Green Efficient Solution sat the Taj Jai Mahal Palace in Jaipur. Lowering the approach of the cooling tower is expected to increase the energy efficiency of the chiller and the HVAC plant room and decrease water consumption, with a payback period of less than one year.  

Essential step

Congratulating IHCL and its innovation partners for the pilot projects, British high commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, said: “This is an essential step for reducing emissions and delivering on the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at COP26.”

‘Our partnership with IFC’s TechEmerge programme and some of the world’s most exciting cooling innovators is a unique and industry-first collaboration creating sustainable solutions in the hospitality sector,’ said Gaurav Pokhariyal, senior vice president and global head – human resources, IHCL.

IHCL manages a portfolio of hotels, resorts, jungle safaris, palaces, spas and in-flight catering services. It has more than 196 hotels in 80 locations across 4 continents and in 12 countries, with over 20,000 rooms and 25,000 employees.


In addition to funding, the IFC’s TechEmerge programme also provides advisory support throughout field testing to help innovators mitigate financial and operational risks, reduce adoption risks for local firms, and facilitate market entry and tech transfer. If the pilots are successful, IHCL and innovators may decide to enter commercial partnerships.

The IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. It works in more than 100 countries, using its capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5bn to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries.

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