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 launched on 9 August 2023.
The centre is a joint initiative between the Government of Telangana (Telangana State Trade Promotion Corporation), Centre for Sustainable Cooling (CSC), University of Birmingham, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the GMR Group.
It was opened by Shri K T Rama Rao, the Honourable Minister for Information Technology and Industries, at the GMR Innovex Campus near GMR Airport, Hyderabad.
The centre is the outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of Telangana and the University of Birmingham in 2022. The University of Birmingham will serve as knowledge partners and help develop the centre into a state-of-the-art research and innovation hub to deploy needs-driven and equitable system-level cooling and cold-chain solutions in Telangana and India.
The centre was inaugurated in the presence of His Excellency Gareth Owens, British Deputy High Commissioner in Hyderabad, Professor Toby Peters, Director, Centre of Sustainable Cooling, University of Birmingham, Sri M Bikshapathi, Chairman, TSTPC (Telangana State Trade Promotion Corporation Ltd), Sri Jayesh Ranjan, Principle Secretary, Department of information Technology and Industries, Dr E. Vishnu Reddy, Special Secretary, Investment Promotion & NRI Affairs and Joint Managing Director, TSPTC, Sri SKG Kishore, Executive Director, GHIAL (GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited), Mr Jimmy Washington, Director Sustainability, Carrier Group and other senior officials and industry representatives.
Speaking on the occasion, Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan said: “The Telangana Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling is a significant step forward in improving food and health security and boost exports. The Centre’s work will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce food losses, enhance farmers income and promote sustainable development.”
Professor Toby Peters from University of Birmingham commented: “The Centre will have a strong technology and renewable energy underpinning. It will take a systems approach focusing on non-technological and behavioural issues as well, recognising that technologies need to be financeable, integrated into processes and be accepted by end users, while some solutions can be achieved though changes or adaptations to operational practices.”
Shri SGK Kishore, Executive Director – South and CIO GMR Group said: “We are glad to be collaborating in this remarkable venture with the Government of Telangana and the University of Birmingham. As the demand for temperature sensitive goods continues to grow, this Centre of Excellence 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.”
Jimmy Washington from the Carrier Group noted: “Carrier is committed to providing advanced, energy efficient and sustainable equipment and service for the cold chain in India and we are pleased to collaborate with the Telangana State Trade Promotion Corporation (TSTPC), to help provide capacity building and skills development opportunities.”
Addressing the gathering, British Deputy High Commissioner, His Excellency Gareth Wynn Owen said: “This is a shining example of collaboration between the UK and India and I am delighted that Hyderabad is hosting this Center of Excellence. Global food security is a priority for the UK and this Center will play a key role in reducing food waste, increasing sustainable agriculture and supporting rural livelihoods.”
Honourable Minister, Shri K T Rama Rao inaugurating the facility said: “The Centre of Excellence 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 cold chain ecosystem in the country. It will develop and demonstrate cooling technologies and solutions that meet the state’s needs and could be scaled up with global reach.” He thanked University of Birmingham for choosing Hyderabad as well as industry partners including Carrier for supporting the initiative.
The Centre of Excellence will have a solutions development laboratory and demonstration centre, a model pack-house and community cooling hubs. It is expected to have a significant impact on the lives of farmers in Telangana. Currently, many farmers are unable to sell their perishable produce because they do not have access to cold storage facilities. The Centre will come up with solutions that will help farmers preserve perishable produce and improved quality of goods. Adopting a ‘hub and spoke’ model (with a main centre , the Centre will deliver upskilling and training programmes for farmers and local agri-businesses, agri-start-ups and entrepreneurs, equipment technicians and researchers.
Telangana’s current pharma and vaccine exports are worth 4 billion USD and are dependent on an efficient cold chain ecosystem. The Centre 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.