Plaksha University Partners With Tabreed For Cooling As Service Initiative

  • Tabreed India is a joint venture between National Central Cooling Company PJSC (Tabreed UAE) and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Punjab-based Plaksha University, a technology university for higher education and research in India, has announced a partnership with Tabreed India. Tabreed India is a joint venture between National Central Cooling Company PJSC (Tabreed UAE) and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).

This partnership is undertaken to develop a living laboratory to test various energy storage technologies and their integration with smart microgrids at the campus.

Initially, the partnership will test the integration of innovative phase change material (PCM)-based thermal energy storage with solar energy in a hostel building to decarbonise residential cooling energy consumption and minimise grid reliance.

As part of this first-of-its-kind Cooling as a Service (CaaS) contract for a university campus in South Asia, Tabreed India will take charge of Plaksha’s existing cooling systems to enhance energy efficiency and provide reliability commitments upwards of 98%. Besides research on thermal storage, Plaksha will experiment with consumption-based billing to foster behavioral change among users in the hostel.

Sudheer Perla, Managing Director, Tabreed Asia, says: “We are excited to partner with Plaksha University for a project that combines technology and business model innovation. Through implementing our planned innovations, we hope to demonstrate the cost and sustainability benefits of replacing battery energy storage with thermal energy storage (TES) systems, and the scalability potential of TES systems in the energy transition efforts underway. We aim to pave the way for other large university campuses, industrial parks, and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to aspire for truly self-sufficient grid-independent campuses in the near future.”

The collaboration is part of the broader partnership between Tabreed India and the International Financial Corporation(IFC’s) TechEmerge Program, through the Cooling Innovation Lab (CIL). It aims to accelerate market adoption of innovative cooling technologies through the implementation of grant-funded pilots and business models. This setup is to demonstrate how the dual problem of variability in renewable power generation, and incremental night-time cooling demand can be addressed. This is to minimise the need for conventional, more expensive, and less environment-friendly battery storage systems. Thus, bringing a sustainable vision for grid-independent buildings, campuses, or even townships one step closer.

Vishal Garg, Professor and Director, Indorama Ventures Center for Clean Energy, Plaksha University says: “We are committed to leading the transition to sustainable energy through cutting-edge research and comprehensive educational programs. A significant challenge in achieving our decarbonisation goals is the energy consumption in residential cooling. We believe that thermal storage, in combination with district cooling, holds great potential to overcome this challenge. To realise this potential, extensive research is necessary to develop innovative technologies, effective business models, and supportive policies that also consider the human-centric design and behavioural factors. Our collaboration with Tabreed India is a crucial step towards initiating this essential research”.

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