Cooling Delhi Hospital Using Heat to Cut Power Sees India Partner Germany

India and Germany are using a New Delhi hospital to demonstrate how heat harnessed for cooling can help contain surging electricity demand in the world’s second- fastest growing major economy.

Air conditioners at the state-run Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Center, which currently draw electricity from the transmission grid, are being replaced with more efficient absorption chillers that run on waste heat from a generator, according to a project document prepared by the German government’s Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH development agency and India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency.

Rising prosperity and demand for goods including air conditioners and televisions has increased power consumption in India, where electricity use per capita rose almost 30 percent since 2002, according to Central Electricity Authority data.

More than 35 percent of future power generated in India may be consumed for cooling, M.S. Unnikrishnan, chief executive officer of Thermax Ltd. (TMX), an Indian power-equipment maker, said in an October interview.

The hospital project in New Delhi, where average summer temperatures exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), will install a tri-generation plant that can use natural gas to simultaneously produce electricity, heat and cool air.

That technology could be used in thousands of hospitals, hotels, airports, department stores and technology centers nationwide, and the hospital plant may open the way for at least 100 similar projects in the next five years, the document said. Germany’s Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen plans to inaugurate the project on March 31.

Air conditioner sales are expected to grow 25 percent a year over the next five years assuming India’s economy sustains growth of 8 percent, according to a 2010 report by OEM Update, an online trade website for India’s manufacturing industry.

India’s $1.3 trillion economy will expand as much as 9.25 percent in the year starting April 1, the most since 2008, the government forecast last month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Obiko Pearson in Mumbai at npearson7@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net.

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