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TechEmerge Sustainable Cooling in the Indian Hospitality Sector

Latest Update: Announcing innovators to pilot new space-cooling solutions in India

Six cutting-edge innovators have been selected to partner with Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), to pilot new cost-effective, climate-smart cooling technologies. They will pilot their new space-cooling solutions at seven of IHCL’s Taj hotels over the next 12-18 months, supported by a pool of up to $500,000 in total grant funding.


About the Program

IFC’s TechEmerge is an award-winning matchmaking program that connects innovators from across the globe with private sector businesses and other clients in emerging markets to pilot cutting-edge solutions and build commercial relationships where they are needed most.

As part of its mission to tackle some of the world’s most critical development challenges, TechEmerge is partnering with Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) to accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient, affordable, climate-smart cooling technologies and business models in the growing hospitality sector. TechEmerge offers a total pool of USD500,000 in grant funding for competitively-selected pilot projects. Backed by our expert panel of industry advisors, we help innovators to successfully enter new markets, while adopters receive support to minimize adoption risks for new cooling solutions. 

Why cooling and hospitality? Compared to office complexes, hospitals, homes, and other building developments, hotels have the highest average energy intensity, meaning they consume more energy per built area. In IHCL’s case, cooling represents almost 50% of its total energy use, in line with many hotels operating in warm climate countries. India’s hospitality sector is expected to grow from US$7.5 billion in 2019 to US$16.8 billion by 2025, offering significant opportunities to pilot and scale sustainable cooling solutions.



  • Brochure – Accelerating Sustainable Cooling Innovation in the Indian Hospitality Sector.



TechEmerge Sustainable Cooling in the Indian Hospitality Sector is piloting innovative, climate-smart, cost-effective technologies and business models, including homegrown Indian solutions, that can meet IHCL’s cooling needs, and have the potential to be scaled across IHCL’s global business, and with other hospitality companies in India and the region more broadly.

Innovations aim to enable thermal comfort in built environments without compromising the functionality of public areas, guest rooms, banquet halls, kitchens, laundries, and other spaces, including but not limited to:

  • IoT-Enabled & AI/BI Augmented Systems leading to overall efficiency

  • Plant Room High Side Equipment Optimization

  • HVAC Low Side System Optimization and Indoor Environmental Quality solutions

  • Passive Cooling Solutions


Read more details on the type of solutions and relevant technologies aligned with IHCL needs.



The Indian Hotels Company Limtied

Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) plays a leading role in India’s hospitality sector and has a global footprint that includes the high-profile Taj brand. IHCL is South Asia's largest hospitality company by market capitalization and has a portfolio of 196 hotels across four continents and twelve countries. It is now building on its strong history of supporting sustainability, by partnering with TechEmerge to pilot and scale energy-efficient, climate-smart cooling innovations across its business. Selected TechEmerge innovators will pilot their innovations at five of IHCL's hotels, with the potential for successful solutions to be replicated across all IHCL's properties.

IHCL hotels





  • March 16, 2021 – Applications Open
  • April 30, 2021 – Applications Close
  • June 2021 – Finalists Announced
  • July 2021 – Matchmaking with IHCL
  • January 2022 – Pilots Announced




  • Access a total pool of up to USD 500,000 in grant funding to support pilot projects on the ground in India.
  • Partner with an industry-leading hospitality company committed to sustainability, with the potential for successful innovations to be replicated across all of IHCL's 200 properties.
  • Receive guidance from TechEmerge and our global network of expert industry advisors to develop pilot implementation and market entry strategies.
  • Potential IFC investment for successful innovators with scalable solutions.




  • This call for innovation is open to entrepreneurs, startups, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Women entrepreneurs and women-led companies are strongly encouraged to apply. 
  • Innovators must be privately-owned companies, typically with less than 50 employees and less than US$100M in venture capital funding (with some exceptions).
  • Innovations must respond to the cooling needs and challenges of IHCL and similar hospitality brands.
  • Solutions should be clean, sustainable, resource-efficient, demonstrate strong value for money, and have the potential to scale.
  • Innovators must allocate time and resources to participate in the program's virtual meetings and matchmaking events, and implement pilot projects on the ground, starting in India with IHCL.
  • Priority will be given to proven solutions/innovations that have been installed in at least one commercial setting, but innovations at the product development stage will also be considered. 




  • Assess: We identify challenges and gaps in sustainable cooling in Asia, and work closely with potential technology adopters, such as IHCL, to ensure we understand and align with their needs.
  • Source: We launch an open call for innovators across the globe who have market-relevant solutions to apply to join the program.
  • Select: With our network of expert advisors, we select high-performing innovators with proven technologies that can meet the needs of participating adopters.
  • Match: Through a carefully curated process, we connect shortlisted innovators with leading businesses and cooling adopters to demonstrate their products/solutions, and to discuss potential pilot project partnerships.
  • Pilot: With our support, selected innovators and adopters partner to test technologies on the ground in India.
  • Commercialize: If the pilot is successful, the local adopter and innovator may decide to enter into a commercial contract and scale up the solution. 


Application deadline: April 30, 2021


This program is implemented in partnership with the government of the United Kingdom.


Market Context

India & the Global Cooling Market

At a global level, the market value of the cooling sector is expected to reach USD 367 billion by 2030, a 40% increase from 2018. India is one of the fastest growing cooling markets in the world, and one of the areas of greatest demand is space cooling. If business as usual continues, energy used for this purpose worldwide is expected to triple by 2050. Furthermore, in tropical countries like India, demand could increase five-fold, driving up costs for businesses and fueling greenhouse gas emissions.  

Hotel Sector

Globally, the hospitality industry expanded by 17.7 per cent from 2008 to 2018. Despite the impact of COVID-19, it is expected to post a compound annual growth rate of 8% from 2021, with its market value reaching $5593 billion in 2023. India possesses a vibrant hotel sector, predicted to grow from around US$7.5 billion in 2019 to US$16.8 billion by 2025.  

Hotel Cooling Demand

In the hotel sector, cooling is a major source of energy consumption. In IHCL’s case, cooling represents almost 50% of its total energy use, in line with many hotels operating in warm climate countries. With energy the second largest operating cost for hotels, surpassed only by labor costs, demand is growing throughout the sector for efficient, cost-effective cooling solutions that reduce energy consumption, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions. India’s government, like others around the world, has also mandated energy efficiency improvements and set targets for hotels, further strengthening the need to adopt sustainable cooling solutions. Meanwhile, there is a growing public pressure, including from travelers, for hotels and other businesses to go green and reduce their carbon footprint. 


In this pilot, IHCL and Kolkata-based innovator Paharpur Cooling Towers are trialling an energy-efficient, low approach cooling tower at the Taj Palace in New Delhi and the Taj Exotica in Goa, to test performance in both dry and humid conditions. This solution aims to lower energy consumption for cooling by up to 10 percent, especially during peak times, with a payback period of less than two years. Furthermore, 45 percent of materials used in the tower are recyclable, thereby reducing its environmental footprint.  Learn more
New Delhi-based innovator Zenatix is partnering IHCL to field-test an IoT-based energy and asset management solution called ZenConnect at two IHCL properties—the Taj Connemara in Chennai and the Taj Exotica in Goa. The solution will monitor the existing electrical system, lower the costs and consumption of energy used for cooling, and improve the planning and implementation of preventive maintenance to extend the life and performance of assets, while reducing breakdowns.   Learn more
IHCL is teaming up with Israeli innovator Elgressy Engineering Services to pilot an automated, plug-and-play electrochemical EST system at the Taj Holiday Village in Goa that prevents scaling, corrosion and algae in cooling towers. The innovation provides a comprehensive, effective, and chemical-free solution, reduces water consumption by up to 20 percent, and provides wastewater for irrigation.  Learn more
This pilot with Haryana-based innovator Desiccant Rotors International (DRI) is field-testing an air filtration system at IHCL’s Taj Palace in New Delhi. The solution is expected to provide an efficient fresh air purification system for the hotel lobby that captures particulate and gaseous pollutants, while also maintaining positive pressure to address infiltration issues.   Learn more

Advisor Network

The TechEmerge Sustainable Cooling in the Indian Hospitality Sector Program is supported by a network of advisors with vast experience in assessing cooling and refrigeration technologies across the world and promoting sustainable investments in emerging markets.