cooling latin america 01
Sustainable Cooling

TechEmerge Sustainable Cooling – Latin America

Project start
Jan, 2020
Open Call
Jul, 2020
Finalists announced
Oct, 2020
Matchmaking events
Nov, 2020
Pilots started
May, 2021

In partnership with:

  • UK Government logo

Climate change, income growth, and urbanization are all increasing demand for cooling—especially in emerging market countries like those in Latin America. 

TechEmerge has brought together some of the world’s most promising innovators and leading companies in Mexico and Colombia to pilot sustainable cooling solutions, build commercial relationships, de-risk investment, and accelerate the adoption of innovation across this fast-growing region.

A total of 20 pilots are currently underway, field-testing and validating cost-effective, energy-efficient, climate-smart solutions with a wide range of applications for retail, pharma, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, education, logistics, refrigeration, and space cooling.

Market Context

$5.7 tr

Latin America’s climate-smart investment potential by 2030

$135 bn

Global market value for the cooling sector


Cooling demand in Mexico will rise five-fold by 2050

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. With the world’s highest urbanization rate and a warm climate, demand for cooling in its cities is expected to increase 5-6 times over the next 30 years

Currently, much of the cooling technology in use in Latin America is old, energy-inefficient, and carries a high environmental cost. However, the region is also a hub for innovation and local companies are keen to lower the costs, energy use, and climate impacts of cooling.

Mexico: high potential sectors

  • In Mexico’s retail, pharmaceutical, construction, property, and transportation sectors, space cooling and refrigeration account for 50-70+ percent of electricity costs. 
  • Refrigerated transport is predicted to have a compound annual growth rate of 7.2 percent from 2018 to 2030. 
  • Pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and healthcare companies rely on cooling when manufacturing, storing, and transporting vaccines and medications.
  • About 50 percent of energy consumed by datacenters goes towards cooling. In Mexico, data centers are the second-fastest-growing end-user of commercial space cooling, just behind hospitality.  
  • The retail sector (supermarkets and hypermarkets) is the third-largest user of cooling in Mexico.

Colombia: high potential sectors

  • 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 for cooling innovation are property development and management, retail, temperature-controlled logistics, and cold chains.
  • Average temperatures in Colombian cities are expected to rise by 1.8-2.7°C cities over the next 50 years, increasing demand for cooling per square meter by 20-34 percent. 
  • In the short to medium term, demand for refrigerated equipment is expected to increase by 62 percent 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) commonly found 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. 

Applications closed.

From a total of 112 applications, TechEmerge and our panel of expert advisors selected 13 cutting-edge innovators and 18 leading Latin American companies to pilot new sustainable cooling solutions on the ground in Mexico and Colombia. Together, they are field-testing more than 20 innovations that cut the costs, energy use, and climate impacts of cooling across the retail, pharma, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, education, logistics, refrigeration, and space cooling sectors.

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.

What type of solutions are we looking for?
Temperature-Controlled Logistics Temperature-Controlled Logistics


Logistics companies, retail chains, agricultural & pharmaceutical companies need refrigerated trucks and TRU design, off-grid cooling, cooling innovations for production, transport and storage of vaccines, medicines, food, beverages, and other temperature-sensitive goods.

Commercial/Residential Buildings Commercial/Residential Buildings


Property managers and developers need energy-efficient air-conditioning technology and software applications for managing and maintaining cooling and HVAC.

Supermarkets/Retail Supermarkets/Retail


Retail chains and supermarkets need energy-efficient refrigerated cabinets for food, beverages, and other goods, temperature zoning inside retail premises, and cooling data and control management solutions.

Scalable SME Solutions Scalable SME Solutions


Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in multiple sectors need cost-effective cooling solutions that can be scaled for affordability and access.

Training & Capacity Building  Training & Capacity Building 


HVAC associations and training centers need innovative distance and virtual learning for technicians who install, operate, maintain, and certify cooling equipment.

Benefits for participants
  • 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

Selection criteria
  • 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

Our adopters are leading companies in Latin America in the retail, pharma, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, education, logistics, refrigeration, and space cooling sectors.

Competitively selected from a field of more than 110 applicants, our innovators come from eight different countries and offer cooling technologies, services, and business models that are cost-effective, climate-smart, and energy-efficient.

Twenty sustainable cooling pilot projects are underway in Mexico and Colombia, field-testing and validating innovations for transport and logistics, space cooling, cooling ecosystems, and commercial and industrial applications.