A new vision on clean tech: Balancing energy efficiency, climate change and costs
The recent agreement to reduce the world’s use of climate-warming hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs) felt like a victory for our start-up company, MIRAI.
We may be small, but we have a big mission - to save life and save the planet by providing a natural alternative to these harmful, man-made greenhouse gases.
So when nations gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, to agree to a complex phase-down of HFCs across the globe - via an amendment to the Montreal Protocol - we hoped it would lead to an important milestone for us and for the planet. And it did.
HFCs are mostly found in air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, the use of which is increasing at an unstoppable rate, particularly across developing economies.
They are thousands of times more destructive to the climate than carbon dioxide, and HFC use is undercutting the benefits expected from the reduction of other greenhouse gases, including CO2.
MIRAI has developed technology using natural air as a refrigerant, meaning that we use the compression and expansion of air for cooling or heating.
Our HFC and toxin-free technology means we are one of the few who can help these ambitious, legally-binding, objectives be achieved. If successful, future global warming can be cut by 0.5 degrees celsius.
After we came up with the idea for a revolutionary start-up, the best European experts were invited to join us in thinking about how environmental issues caused by emissions from refrigeration and air-conditioning units could be solved.
Their unique work proved that using natural air as a refrigerant is the only solution to the challenges faced by the industry.
When it comes to the environment, the use of synthetic or toxic substances is looking increasingly technologically-backward and short-sighted.
Air cooling not only literally saves the health and lives of those people who breathe the fresh air, but it also conserves energy resources and protects the planet.
Reduction in the use of HFCs can make a significant contribution to slowing climate change that will lower the projected increase in average temperatures.
Effects of global warming as heatwaves, sudden severe frosts, floods, mudslides, tornados and hurricanes, will no longer be a mortal threat to mankind.
We want to help make that happen.
Better synergy between business and politics
But while the idea of "nature protection" is well covered in modern society, the specific methods of solving the problems detected needs better synergy between the business and political worlds.
A hi-tech industrial products market can only succeed if the politicians set ambitious business goals, the result of which would be the acceleration of the mass production of innovative solutions.
Of course, to enter the market and get customers is primarily a problem for a particular company, but the market economy must also be guided by the aim of giving a chance to environmental technologies.
It was right that delegates in Kigali set different HFC-reduction timescales for different regions of the world, starting with the more wealthy countries - many of which, including the EU, had already begun the process.
Rich nations that are ready to help the poor in adapting technologies bring us closer not only to an environmentally secure future, but also to social equality.
While many issues do remain unsolved, we were heartened that this month’s UNFCCC summit on climate change, in Marrakech, proved the readiness of the international community to take up active work on realising the ambitious decisions of the Paris Conference.
Now the task of political decision-makers, and those who shape public opinion, is to pay attention to innovations that can help reach the goals that were set.
And in our ideal future, all businesses will have to think of ways to save the planet.
Vladislav Tsyplakov, is CEO of MIRAI.