IIT students win global contest with low-cost earthenware cooler

By Shruthi Mohan|1st Nov 2017
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2 IIT Roorkee students win the Schneider Electric Global ‘Go Green in the City 2017 contest with Evacool, a low-cost earthenware cooling technology.

Innovating on the age-old concept of using earthenware to keep water cool, two students of IIT Roorkee have built a low-cost earthenware cooling technology. The air cooler won Schneider Electric’s Global ‘Go Green in the City 2017’ Contest in Paris. The Go Green initiative was conducted to promote innovative solutions for smarter and energy efficient cities.

Raja Jain and Nimisha Gupta aced the global competition by outperforming 12 other teams. The winning team gets an opportunity to build their career with Schneider Electric, along with networking opportunities with employees and seniors.

The design works on the principles of capillary action, evaporation and convective heat transfer. EvaCool uses 65-100 W of electricity per hour (equivalent to a fan). Through its life cycle, EvaCool produces 96 percent lesser greenhouse gases than an air conditioner. It possesses numerous advantages over existing technologies: it is cheaper, consumes lesser electricity and has lower emissions. In essence, cooling occurs through earthenware.

Talking about their inspiration, the duo said,

We got the idea when we were attending a three-day seminar at IIT, Mumbai. In the hotel, we noticed that corridors and balconies were unusually hot compared to the rooms. Since hotel owners can’t afford expensive air-conditioning of corridors, these places are usually devoid of any cooling solutions. We also noticed that the mechanical energy of the fan of the outdoor unit of the split AC was not productively used.

They soon came up with the device that can be fitted on the mouth of an outdoor unit, decreasing the temperature of the emitted hot air by about 10 degrees. The duo, who called themselves Team Phoenix, used their experience of the water-cooling properties of earthen pots – this characteristic is long recognised in India - to help cool rooms.

Promoting innovation

Go Green in the City exemplifies the values that define Schneider Electric and are lived daily by its people. The global student competition is conducted every year to promote innovative solutions for smarter and energy efficient cities.

When asked about their USP, Nimisha said,

Cost effectiveness is an important aspect of any solution for it to be viable. Moreover, innovation and feasibility went hand in hand in this competition. Right from the inception of the idea for the competition to restructuring under the guidance of the assigned mentor, the business case development and the final presentation in Paris, all phases have been a great learning. We got the chance to meet exceptional leaders at the event and learnt about their culture of innovation. We are going to take the practical career advice with us for the rest of our lives.

A leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, Schneider Electric recently hosted the 12 finalist teams of the seventh Go Green in the City, its international student competition to find innovative energy solutions for smart cities in Paris. The others runner-up teams were from Brazil and the US. Around 19,772 students from across 180 countries applied for this competition. The competition invites contestants to address real-life case challenges of the business world in the area of energy management. The most innovative and original idea stands the chance of winning the contest.

Rachna Mukherjee, CHRO, Schneider Electric India, said,

The initiative received an overwhelming response from across the globe. We were delighted at the innovative solutions to global issues shared by young minds. My congratulations to all the winners and participants for their passion for making a change.

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