This year’s edition of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL)’s This Is Cool Challenge – an international competition for youth-led sustainable cooling solutions – will include a new prize for solutions that use natural refrigerants.
The special prize is offered in partnership with Cool Up, a German-financed program dedicated to scaling up the adoption of natural refrigerants and sustainable cooling systems in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
SEforALL is an international organization that works in partnership with the United Nations and leaders in government, the private sector, financial institutions, civil society and philanthropies to drive faster action towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 – in line with the Paris Agreement on climate.
Through the competition, SEforALL and its partners aim to identify impactful youth-led cooling solutions, showcase the work of young innovators on high-profile platforms and facilitate knowledge-sharing among participants and partners organizations.
The challenge is open to individuals and groups of up to five people under the age of 35. Submissions are due by September 15.
The year of sustainable cooling
“As the planet warms, more frequent heat extremes are threatening the safety and well-being of communities across the world,” says SEforALL on its website. “Sustainable cooling solutions already exist; however, they need to diffuse faster to reach those communities that are most exposed to heat – through affordable and sustainable cooling innovations, novel business models and new policy tools.”
“Young innovators are already generating sustainable cooling solutions in their communities and countries, [but they] need to access funding, networks and resources to demonstrate their ideas, scale their businesses and influence decision-making,” it adds.
“Sustainable cooling solutions already exist; however, they need to diffuse faster to reach those communities that are most exposed to heat – through affordable and sustainable cooling innovations, novel business models and new policy tools.”SEforALL
According to the international organization, urgent action is needed, with 2023 being a “momentous year” for sustainable cooling.
“A growing ecosystem of partners is rallying ambition ahead of COP28 [28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change], where sustainable cooling priorities will take center stage,” it says. “We need to invest in solutions that can accelerate both emission reductions and heat resilience.”
Scalable, impactful and innovative
Competition submissions will be assessed by a panel of experts from SEforALL and partners and evaluated on several criteria, including alignment with the challenge goals, scalability, impact and innovation.
In addition to the prize for natural refrigerants, there are cash prizes for the winner of each of the challenge’s four categories – cooling for thermal comfort; cooling for food, nutrition and agriculture; cooling for health; and cooling and artificial intelligence (AI) – and a grand prize for the overall challenge winner. Applicants have a chance to win up to US$10,000 (€9,200).
SEforALL and its partners will also provide networking and exhibition opportunities for the top three finalists in each category.
This Is Cool Challenge 2022
The 2022 edition of SEforALL’s This Is Cool Challenge received nearly 100 submissions from young innovators across more than 30 countries.
Kenya-based agricultural cold chain solutions Solar Freeze won last year’s challenge with its solar-powered cold storage rooms and IT solutions for small hold farmers. Runners up included a tree-planting initiative – Miti Mitaani – in Kenya and Nigeria’s Smart Cold Chain Monitoring System.