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Sustainable Cooling - Latin American Cities

Latest Update: Announcing sustainable cooling innovation pilots to be implemented in Mexico and Colombia

From 112 applications across 20 countries, 13 cutting-edge innovators from eight countries and 18 leading Latin American companies were selected by TechEmerge and our panel of expert advisors to pilot new sustainable cooling solutions on the ground in Mexico and Colombia. They will conduct more than 20 pilots to field test and validate innovative technologies that cut the costs, energy use, and climate impacts of cooling. The innovations will be piloted with top companies in retail, pharma, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, education, logistics and cooling services.

TechEmerge’s Sustainable Cooling Innovation program in Latin America is funded by the UK Government’s International Climate Finance and offers a total pool of $1.5 million in grant funding to support pilot implementation. TechEmerge also provides valuable support throughout field testing, mitigating financial and operational risks for innovators, reducing adoption risks for local firms, and easing market-entry and tech transfer.



TechEmerge brings technologies to new markets, driving sustainable innovation to emerging economies where it is needed most.  After successful programs in India and Brazil, TechEmerge is expanding to Latin America’s vital cooling sector.

Through this program, TechEmerge is matching innovators from across the world with companies and municipalities in Mexico and Colombia to pilot climate-smart, energy-efficient cooling technologies, products, and services and build commercial partnerships.

After a global open call in July 2020, innovators were selected through a competitive process and then invited to participate in virtual meetings and events with potential pilot partners in Mexico and Colombia to discuss how to pilot their technology, product, or service and commercialize them in these growing markets.

IFC and a panel of industry experts will provide support during market-entry and tech transfer to offset financial and operational risks for innovators and adoption risks for local governments, corporates, and other cooling providers/users. TechEmerge offers a total pool of USD 1.5 million in grant funding for pilot projects in a wide range of sectors 






  • Access to a robust Latin American network of potential users/buyers of cooling technology, products, and services
  • Access to a pool of up to $1.5M in funding to support pilot projects in Mexico and Colombia through competitive selection
  • Technical assistance from the TechEmerge team and our global network of advisors to develop pilot implementation and market entry strategies
  • Potential IFC investment for successful innovators with scalable solutions


  • Priority will go to proven products installed in at least one commercial setting, but innovations at the product development stage will also be considered
  • Privately owned company, typically with less than 50 employees and less than US$100M in venture capital funding (with some exceptions)
  • Responds to the cooling needs and challenges of Latin American businesses and municipalities
  • Demonstrated managerial capacity and scalability
  • Ability to allocate time and resources to participate in the project, including participating in virtual meetings and events, and implementation of field testing/pilot projects in Mexico and/or Colombia



  • Assess: We identify challenges and gaps in emerging markets, talking in person with local organizations to ensure we understand which technologies could best meet their needs.
  • Source: We launch an open call for innovators from around the world who have market-relevant solutions to apply to join the program.
  • Select: With the support of a network of expert advisors, we select high-performing innovators with proven technologies that can meet the needs of participating local organizations.
  • Match: Through a carefully curated process, we arrange events and meetings for the shortlisted innovators to meet local organizations, demo their products, and discuss working together in pilot projects.
  • Pilot: With our support, selected innovators and participating organizations partner to test technologies in a local setting.
  • Commercialize: If the pilot is successful, the local organization and innovator may decide to enter into a commercial contract.


Download the Program's brochure



After East Asia and Pacific, Latin America offers the world’s second largest climate smart investment potential of up to USD 5.7 trillion by 2030.

Latin America has a warm climate and the highest urbanization rate in the world, and the region’s many large cities provide an ideal environment for scaling sustainable cooling solutions.

The region is also known as a hub of innovation, and both the private and public sectors are eager to adopt new cost-effective, energy-efficient, climate-smart cooling solutions.

In 2018 the global market value for the cooling sector was estimated at USD 135 billion. By 2030, this could reach almost USD 170 billion, while global unit sales are expected to grow from 336 million to 460 million over the same period.


  • In Mexico, demand for cooling is expected to increase five or six-fold in the next 30 years.  Demand is particularly strong in urban areas such as Mexico City, which is home to more than 20 million people. Mexico also has another 11 cities of more than one million people.
  • This increased demand will put significant pressure on energy supplies, transportation, and the environment, and also provide opportunities for private entities and public organizations to deploy more efficient cooling innovations. 

Sectors with high potential:

  • In the retail, pharmaceutical, and transportation sectors, AC and refrigeration account for more than 70% of electricity costs. AC and refrigeration account for 50-60% of electricity costs in the TMT (telecom, media and technology) and construction sectors, and in the operation of office complexes, hospitals, hotels, and other large developments.
  • In Mexico, refrigerated transport is predicted to have a compound annual growth rate of 7.2 percent from 2018 to 2030. In hot climates like Mexico’s up to 30 percent of fuel consumed by the transport sector is used to power truck, train, or ship-borne transport refrigeration units (TRUs) carrying food, medicine, and chemicals. 
  • About 50 percent of energy consumed by data-centers goes towards cooling. In Mexico, data centers are the second-fastest-growing end-user of commercial AC, just behind hospitality. It is estimated that the global market for data center cooling will be worth USD15 billion by 2024. 
  • The retail sector (supermarkets and hypermarkets) is the third-largest user of cooling in Mexico.
  • Healthcare institutions, particularly hospitals, are also major cooling users as they need to maintain patient comfort and wellbeing, protect medicines, vaccines, and blood, and reduce potential sources of bacteria. 
  • Pharmaceutical companies also rely on cooling during the highly temperature-sensitive process of manufacturing antibiotics and medications.


  • Colombia is Latin America’s third most populous country and 75 percent of its people live in cities, where demand for sustainable cooling is greatest.  Sectors with the highest potential are property development and management, retail, temperature-controlled logistics and cold chains
  • Colombian cities, in addition to having more population, will have higher average temperatures and longer periods of high temperatures, increasing the probability of heat waves. Average temperatures in its may rise by 1.8-2.7°C cities  in next 50 plus years s which will increase the demand for cooling per square meter by 20-34%. 
  • In the short to medium term, demand for refrigerated equipment is expected to increase by 62% from 2.5 million units to more than 4 million units per year. Colombia will need innovative cooling solutions if it is to meet it pledge to eliminate damaging F-gases (HFCs) found in most commonly used refrigeration and air-conditioning by 2030.
  • Food insecurity effects 54.2% of Colombian households. More efficient, affordable refrigeration and cold chains would lower food wastage and improve social wellbeing. 

Check back soon for detailed results from our on-the-ground surveys in Mexico and Colombia, sector-specific data, and more information on Latin America’s growing cooling market.


Cooling is essential for economic development, productivity, human health and food security.

➡ Cooling prevents medicines and vaccines from spoiling
30-50% of post-harvest losses are due to a lack of cooling
➡ Refrigerated transport delivers vital goods to shops and shipping ports
➡ Cooling protects children, the elderly, and the sick during heatwaves
➡ Cooling is vital for steel, agriculture, pharma, energy, and other industries

Climate change, income growth, and urbanization are all increasing demand for cooling—especially in emerging markets which are home to the fastest growing and hottest cities on earth.

However, cooling consumes 15% of global energy, and if business as usual continues that amount will triple by 2050. Cooling is also a major contributor to climate change, producing 10% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

The good news is that cooling innovation offers one of the most cost-effective ways to fight climate change – and this is where TechEmerge comes in. 


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

UK Government



Protecting food supply chains with new climate-smart, energy-efficient cooling tech. Promethean Power Systems designs and manufactures refrigeration systems for cold-storage and chilling in off-grid and partially electrified locations. Global food company, Sigma, manages a fleet of over 4,000 vehicles that service 210 distribution centres and 640,000 points of sale in 18 countries. Together, they are field testing a solution that converts electrical energy into cold energy, without the need to mount a condensing unit on a refrigerated vehicle/reefer truck, with the aim of reducing diesel fuel consumption, as well as food losses from poor temperature-control. Learn more
Innovación al servicio del transporte refrigerado: menos pérdidas de alimentos y uso de combustible. Promethean Power Systems es una empresa basada en India y Estados Unidos que diseña y fabrica sistemas de refrigeración para proveer almacenamiento en frío y enfriamiento en ubicaciones fuera de la red eléctrica y/o parcialmente electrificadas. La empresa mundial de alimentos Sigma gestiona una flota de más de 4.000 vehículos que dan servicio a 210 centros de distribución y 640.000 puntos de venta en 18 países. Juntos, están implementando un proyecto piloto en México para probar una solución que convierte la energía eléctrica en energía de enfriamiento, sin la necesidad de montar una unidad de condensación en un vehículo refrigerado o camión frigorífico, con el objetivo de reducir el consumo de combustible (diesel), así como disminuir las pérdidas de alimentos por un deficiente control de temperatura. Learn more
Keeping cool: innovative technology slashes energy use and costs of retail refrigeration. Ice-cream retailer Helados Popsy has over 220 outlets across Colombia, and refrigeration currently accounts for over 70 percent of its energy costs. It is partnering with Spain’s BiofreshTech to field test an integrated technology that needs only a small initial charge to cool or heat any space to the desired temperature for up to six days, operating autonomously, without the ongoing need for electricity, and with real-time control. Learn more
Tecnología para mantener los helados bien fríos y los costos de energía bajos. La compañía de helados Popsy tiene más de 220 puntos de venta en Colombia y la refrigeración representa actualmente más del 70 por ciento de sus costos de energía. En alianza con la empresa española BiofreshTech desarrollará un proyecto piloto tecnológico que validará en campo la eficiencia de una solución integrada de refrigeración que solo necesita una pequeña carga inicial para enfriar o calentar cualquier espacio a la temperatura deseada y mantenerla hasta por seis días, funcionando de forma autónoma sin la necesidad continua de electricidad y teniendo un control del sistema en tiempo real. Learn more