Capital Cool- Madhusudan Rapole from Oorja Energy Engineering Service
In this episode of Green Business Podcast, I talk with Madhusudan Rapole, founder of Oorja Energy Engineering Services about future of sustainable cooling technologies. Oorja energy is a Cleantech Heating & Cooling company focused on providing sustainable solutions for industrial and commercial heating & cooling.
In the beginning, we spend a bit of time delving into Madhu is motivations for offering sustainable cooling solutions. Madhu explains that he was brought up in a coal mining town in northern Telangana, where coal mining was causing ecological damage. Since cooling is very energy intensive and the need for cooling solutions is growing massively, he felt that he wanted to offer sustainable solutions that minimize the energy (coal) consumption as well as greenhouse gases. Madhu then describes sustainable cooling
“Ideal sustainable cooling technology would be something that would not use any harmful refrigerants. And it should use less energy. The cooling technology should achieve roughly 50% reduction in whatever energy is being consumed by AC. So as long as these two satisfy I would say that is a sustainable cooling technology”.
Oorja Energy’s offerings:
Madhu explains the service offerings of Oorja. These can be divided into two categories
- Cooling technologies such as radiant cooling, where we are using refrigerants, we reduce the quantity of refrigerants.
- Technologies such as structural cooling, where we don’t use any refrigerant, but cool with the help of water. Structure cooling flushes the heat that is trapped in your building structure. The building is the one that absorbs all solar radiation that’s why we feel hot in our homes, even in the night, when the sun is not that hot, we feel like we are in an oven. That’s because your building is now radiating the heat to you. And it’s always the building that radiates. So, with structural cooling, we just cool the structure and it’s the cooling feels like how you feel in winter with your fan on.
We talk about the suitability of such solutions for different types of building and Madhu explains that they have implemented these technologies in all sorts of buildings including commercial buildings, warehouses, factories, shop flows, residential buildings, hostels, institutional buildings, aircraft hangars, border outposts, and in all sorts of temperature conditions starting from 48 degrees down to minus 40 degrees. So, these are suitable for all sorts of buildings.
Price competitiveness of sustainable cooling solutions:
Then we discuss the price competitiveness of his solutions vis a vis conventional solutions. Madhu explains
“Let’s talk about the commercial building. Commercial buildings, the cost per square foot, if I have to take off the square foot of the air-conditioned space, roughly today works out with conventional technologies anywhere between 350 rupees to maybe 450 rupees per square foot of the area. Technologies that we implement, like radiant cooling would fall in roughly the same cost maybe around 400 to 500 rupees, so just about maybe 15% or 20% higher in terms of cost, but not beyond that. And the paybacks are pretty much within two years if your electricity cost is lower, maybe three years but not beyond that. So, it makes perfect sense for commercial buildings, which are looking at reducing their energy cost.”
Go to Market Strategy and growth drivers:
We talk about how Madhu is addressing the lack of awareness about such solutions and he explains that they are first trying to educate influencers such as architects and HVAC consultants who make the air conditioning related decisions for their clients. Additionally, organisations such as UNIDO and Indian Green Building Council are also helping them in spreading awareness of such solutions.
In the end, we discuss the growth drivers for sustainable cooling solutions and Madhu says that it typically takes a decade for new technologies to gain mass acceptance. However, the acceptance of sustainable cooling may accelerate because of COVID, which has highlighted the importance of good ventilation.
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Bharti is trying to help green businesses in raising capital. She is founder of Fine Train and her areas of expertise include transaction advisory, due diligence, financial research and market assessment.