Conservation X Labs launches The Global Cooling Prize in India

Conservation X Labs and its global partners launched The Global Cooling Prize last week during a high-profile event in New Delhi, India. This international competition incentivizes the development of a residential cooling technology that will have at least five times less climate impact than the standard Room Air Conditioning (RAC) units sold today. Over US$3 million will be awarded over the course of the two-year competition.

"The Government of India supports this innovation challenge, which aims to develop sustainable and efficient technology to provide thermal comfort to all and invites applicants from around the world to apply for The Global Cooling Prize," said Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment, Forest and Climate Change at the Global Cooling Innovation Summit in New Delhi.

The coalition of organizations administering the prize -- including CXL, the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy, and CEPT University -- will also support incubation, commercialization, and ultimately mass adoption of the breakthrough technologies that arise from the Global Cooling Prize. The prize is supported by the Government of India and Mission Innovation.

"If we don't do something about the growing global impact of air conditioning on our climate today, it will derail our best attempts to meet the Paris Agreement goal on emissions," said Sir Richard Branson, Prize Ambassador and founder of the Virgin Group.

Dr. Paul Bunje, co-founder of Conservation X Labs, speaks at the launch of the Global Cooling Prize. New Delhi, India (Nov. 12, 2018)

Dr. Paul Bunje, co-founder of Conservation X Labs, speaks at the launch of the Global Cooling Prize. New Delhi, India (Nov. 12, 2018)

Conservation X Labs has contributed its field-leading open innovation expertise to participant recruitment, technology assessment, scaling and deployment program design, prize design, and partner recruitment. These activities, particularly the post-prize efforts, highlight CXL’s goal to create market demand for any winning technologies ensuring that these cooling solutions are not only developed but also deployed throughout the planet.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Indian government, and some of the leading organizations and universities in the cooling space to launch The Global Cooling Prize,” said Dr. Paul Bunje, co-founder of Conservation X Labs. “Conservation X Labs’ mission aligns perfectly with The Global Cooling Prize, leveraging open innovation to develop more efficient cooling solutions that meet the growing global demand for RAC.”

During the two-day Global Cooling Innovation Summit that launched the prize, Dr. Bunje spoke on a number of high-level panel presentations about the power of prizes to spur innovation and the tools necessary for getting solutions to scale. Senior Program Manager & Cooling Lead Dr. Chad Gallinat also led a session with 40 private sector representatives and potential prize competitors to identify support activities that participants valued most and to build the necessary partnerships for greater investment, scaling, and expertise in the space.

Dr. Gallinat has been heavily involved in participant recruitment, technology assessment, and scaling activities as part of the prize administration.  Particularly, his efforts have led to the recruitment of 100 potential participants with novel cooling technologies and applications that could be applied to the prize.

Dr. Paul Bunje participates in a high-level panel as part of The Global Cooling Prize launch. New Delhi, India (Nov. 12, 2018)

Dr. Paul Bunje participates in a high-level panel as part of The Global Cooling Prize launch. New Delhi, India (Nov. 12, 2018)

“The energy around the prize is palpable,” Dr. Gallinat remarked following the Global Cooling Innovation Summit. “The potential participants represent a growing global effort to reimagine cooling technologies, and we are excited to see what novel technologies and solutions rise to the front as part of this two-year prize.”

The Global Cooling Prize is accepting preliminary applications until June 2019 and technical applications until August 2019.  Over US$3 million will be awarded in prize money over the course of the two-year competition. Up to 10 short-listed competing technologies will be awarded up to US$200,000 each in intermediate prizes to support the design and prototype development of their innovative residential cooling technology designs. The winning technology will be awarded at least US$1 million to support its incubation and early-stage commercialization following extensive lab and apartment testing over a five-month period. The winner will be announced in November or December 2020 at the close of this process.

To learn more about the prize and to submit your application, visit the prize’s official website at You can also find The Global Cooling Prize on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get updates on the prize throughout its duration. 

The Rocky Mountain Institute also released a report in conjunction with the prize launch, Solving the Global Cooling Challenge, that outlines how business-as-usual measures will be insufficient to overcome the energy and emissions impact of projected room air conditioner growth. A winning, five-times more efficient technology could prevent up to 100 gigatons of carbon emissions by 2050 and put the world on a pathway to mitigate up to 0.5˚C of global warming by 2100, according to the report.

For more coverage of the launch event in New Delhi, India, check out the profiles in The New York Times, Fast Company, and Sir Richard Branson’s contribution to the Economic Times, How to Make ACs Cool.

All inquiries can be directed to To sign up for updates or to apply for The Global Cooling Prize, visit

The ‘Ohiʻa Challenge: Calling New Solvers to Save Hawaiʻi’s Forests

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$70,000 Challenge Launches Today – Application Period Open Until February 1, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, September 5, 2018 / -- Hawai'i's iconic ʻŌhiʻa tree faces a new and undetectable threat that is killing off trees at an unprecedented rate. This disease threatens to decimate this species that is critical to the unique culture and habitat of Hawai'i. Conservation X Labs, a DC-based technology start-up, announces the launch of The ʻŌhiʻa Challenge—a competition for solutions to this threat. In partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior offices and agencies, Conservation X Labs today announced the opportunity to compete and seeks new solvers from unconventional fields such as engineering, fluidics, optics, microbiology, hackers, makers, and many more to save Hawai'i's forests from extinction.

The ʻŌhiʻa Challenge offers $70,000 for solutions that can rapidly detect and prevent the spread of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD). ROD is caused by fungal pathogens that have recently decimated the endemic ʻohiʻa tree population on the islands of Kaua'i and Hawai'i. Applications for solutions will be accepted from September 5th, 2018 through February 1st, 2019 on

Conservation X Labs has partnered with Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Native Hawaiian Relations, Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, and National Invasive Species Council (NISC) Secretariat to launch The ʻŌhiʻa Challenge as part of a collective effort to address ROD by harnessing emerging science, technological innovations, and the ingenuity of people around the world.

The ʻōhiʻa tree carries immense cultural heritage and natural value in the Hawaiian islands. A Hawaiian legend tells of the love and separation of the young couple ʻŌhiʻa and Lehua: jealous of their love, the goddess Pele turned the warrior ʻŌhiʻa into a tree and Lehua into the tree’s flower. If you pluck the red lehua blossoms of the ʻōhiʻa tree (Metrosideros polymorpha), legend says the lovers’ tears fill the sky with rain as they are separated again.

Promising solutions will receive further support on Conservation X Labs’ Digital Makerspace, a platform where science, entrepreneurship, and technology communities come together to co-create tech-enabled solutions to conservation problems. Anyone can submit a solution to identify infected trees early before they die, minimize the spread of ROD, and eliminate the pathogens and leverage the community of solvers to develop ideas.

The ʻŌhiʻa Challenge team is calling on the technology, engineering, and scientific community to help solve the problem. “Our goal is to use the best of human ingenuity to identify technological solutions that can save part of Hawai'i's beauty. This is why we look to engage innovative thinkers within other advanced technology fields through this challenge prize”, said Dr. Alex Dehgan, CEO of Conservation X Labs, “We don’t have to accept ʻōhiʻa's extinction.”

Microscopic invasive fungi, Ceratocystis huliohia and Ceratocystis lukuohia, are responsible for ROD. Since 2014 when first identified, the fungi have infected thousands of acres of forest and have recently invaded the islands of Kaua'i and Hawai'i. If unstopped, ROD could irreversibly change Hawai'i's ecosystems and culture by eliminating the beloved ‘ohi’a.

To join the coalition to save the ʻohiʻa and protect Hawai'i's natural heritage, visit for complete information about the Challenge rules and instructions on how to submit an application. All press and general inquiries can be directed to or Senior Program Manager, Chad Gallinat (

Chad Gallinat
Senior Program Manager, Conservation X Labs

Press Releases for The ‘Ohi’a Challenge can be accessed at the following:

EIN Presswire (Sept. 5, 2018):

EurekAlert (Sept. 5, 2018):

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (Aug. 14, 2018):