Govt. of Telangana, GMR Group, UNEP, and Univ. of Birmingham come together for sustainable cooling and cold chain

The Telangana Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-Chain, a novel initiative for promoting sustainable cooling innovation and accelerating the deployment of energy-efficient refrigeration for food and vaccine supply chains across India, was inaugurated by K T Rama Rao, the State Minister for IT and Industries, today GMR Innovex Campus near GMR Airport, Hyderabad.

The CoE is a joint initiative between the Government of Telangana (Telangana State Trade Promotion Corporation), the Centre for Sustainable Cooling (CSC), the University of Birmingham, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the GMR Group. It is the outcome of an MoU signed between the Government of Telangana and the University of Birmingham last year.

The University of Birmingham will serve as the knowledge partner for the initiative, working towards developing the CoE into a state-of-the-art research and innovation hub that will help deploy needs-driven and equitable system-level cooling and cold-chain solutions in the state and the country.

“The CoE is a first-of-its-kind initiative in India. It will have state-of-the-art equipment and will serve as a one-stop solution to address all challenges around the cold chain ecosystem in the country. It will develop & demonstrate cooling technologies and solutions that meet the state’s needs and could be scaled up with global reach.”

K.T. Rama Rao

The target community of the CoE is that of the farmers in Telangana. Currently, many of them are unable to sell perishable produce due to the inaccessibility of appropriate cold chain infrastructure. The CoE will come up with solutions that will help farmers preserve perishable produce and improve the quality of goods. Adopting a ‘hub and spoke’ model, the CoE will deliver upskilling and training programs for farmers and local agri-businesses, agri-start-ups and entrepreneurs, equipment technicians, and researchers.

The CoE was inaugurated in the presence of H.E. Gareth Owens (British Deputy High Commissioner in Hyderabad), Professor Toby Peters (Director, Centre of Sustainable Cooling, University of Birmingham), Sri M Bikshapathi (Chairman, TSTPC), Sri Jayesh Ranjan, IAS (Principle Secretary (IT and Industries)), Dr. E. Vishnu Reddy (Special Secretary (Investment Promotion) and JDM, TSPTC), Sri SKG Kishore (Executive Director, GHIAL), Jimmy Washington (Director Sustainability, Carrier Group) and other senior officials and industry representatives.

Shri SGK Kishore, ED – South and CIO GMR Group said, “As the demand for temperature-sensitive goods continues to grow, this CoE will facilitate and aid the accelerated deployment of a needs-driven and sustainable (environmentally, economically and socially) cold chain solution in the State of Telangana and wider India. This facility is a step in the right direction in our effort to cater to the needs of various sectors in a sustainable manner and will be a real game changer that will support the trade and farming community.”

Speaking on the occasion, Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan said that the CoE will play a significant role in boosting exports, as well as improving the food and health security in the country. While on the other hand, Professor Toby Peters mentioned that the CoE will have a strong technology and renewable energy underpinning, and it will take a systems approach focusing on non-technological and behavioral issues as well. He also acknowledged that technologies need to be financeable, integrated into processes and accepted by end users.

Telangana currently exports 4BN USD worth of Pharma and Vaccine Exports which are dependent on an efficient cold chain ecosystem. The center will also focus on new and sustainable technologies for vaccine and pharma cold chain and will contribute to the further growth of vaccine exports from the state.

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