i2cool won the gold prize of US$1 million in the TERA-Award Smart Energy Innovation Competition 2022 with its core electricity-free cooling technology.

i2Cool Limited

On 28th March, i2cool received another worldwide award for its concept of environmental protection, energy savings, and high efficiency. i2cool, a pioneer in energy-saving technology, won the gold prize of US$1 million in the TERA-Award Smart Energy Innovation Competition 2022 with its core electricity-free cooling technology. Co-founded by Dr Martin ZHU, his supervisor Dr Edwin Chi-Yan TSO from the School of Energy and Environment, the City University of Hong Kong (CityU), and a group of young scientists, i2cool is a technology start-up cultivated by the HK Tech 300 Entrepreneurship Programme of CityU and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) Incubation Programme.


Exploring the potential of zero-carbon technologies

The research and implementation of zero-carbon technologies and the development and application of green and intelligent energy are crucial concerns as the effects of climate change and the energy crisis worsen. Several technological innovation cooperations are actively responding to this appeal and working on the development and use of this technology in support.The TERA-Award Smart Energy Innovation Competition emerged in this context.


The TERA-Award Smart Energy Innovation Competition is jointly organised by The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited (Towngas) and State Power Investment Corporation Limited (SPIC). The theme for this year's competition is "Exploring Zero-Carbon Innovations for the Future." The TERA-Award aims at spotting outstanding innovative technologies and solutions in the field of intelligent energy on a global scale, assisting in the practical application of scientific research findings, as well as providing application scenarios for the rapid implementation and iterative innovation of zero-carbon science and technology projects. The ultimate objective is to utilise technology to meet the "3060" target and resolve the global warming issue.  Since its official launch on 12th August, 2022, the competition has received 275 projects from 41 countries and regions. Sixteen projects are selected in the finals for the $1 million prize.



The competition invites representatives and multi-partners from Tsinghua University, the University of Hong Kong, the City University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Energy Investment Committee of the Investment Association of China, China Gas Association Distributed Energy Committee, China Energy Internet Alliance, Distributed Energy Specialized Committee of China Energy Research Society, the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, IDG Capital, Affinity Equity Partners, Greater Bay Area Common Homeland Investments Limited and other industry, academia, research and investment to participate and jointly promote the development of zero carbon technology industry.

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A bunch of energy specialists will evaluate the projects.The chief judge was Yi CUI, a professor of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University and the first Chinese-American director of Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy who specialises in nanomaterials.To choose the overall winner, the judging panel will assess the project proposals and live roadshows and address any inquiries they may have.


Member of the CPPCC National Committee, and chairman of Towngas, Dr Ka-kit LEE,remarked at the award ceremony that Towngas is a local energy enterprise with 160 years of history. Towngas will actively contribute to scientific and technological advancement as part of its commitment to sustainable development while pursuing a low-carbon footprint and environmental protection. By co-hosting the second TERA-Award Smart Energy Innovation Competition with SPIC, it will be possible to accelerate the transfer of scientific findings from the lab to the real world and to give zero-carbon science and technology ideas with realistic application scenarios. To reach the national carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals and address the global warming issue, Towngas intend to leverage the strength of technology.


Electricity-free Cooling Technology

Won the TERA-Award GLOD Prize

i2cool has won the Gold Prize in the TERA-Award Smart Energy Innovation Competition in this much-awaited international innovation competition for the benefits of its electricity-free cooling technology in terms of environmental protection, energy savings, and high efficiency. At the award ceremony, Dr Martin ZHU, the founder of i2cool, expressed hisgratitude to all present, particularly the CityU, for its steadfast support of the HK Tech 300 initiative.The TERA-Award honour, according to Dr Zhu, is the best testimony of the i2cool team's cooperation and innovation. It also represents the outcome of the rich resources made available by CityU and the continued support and instruction offered by the HK Tech 300 programme, which will establish a solid platform for even more significant accomplishments in the future.


In addition, Dr Zhu is particularly grateful toMr Handi XIAN, the founding Partner of the Investment Committee at China Prosperity Capital and a member of the National People's Congress in Hong Kong. He has provided significant backing for the growth of the global market and i2cool's roots in the Greater Bay Area. He assisted i2cool financially and actively by networking the team with industrial resources, enabling the company's innovation and growth, and creating achievements in electricity-free cooling technology.i2cool will utilise the money to develop electric-free cooling technology even further and look into other potential new applications.




The electricity-free cooling technology from i2cool will be used in various industrial applications by SPIC, one of the hosts. This cooperation will make significant technological advancements in i2cool while mitigating challenges like climate change, energy shortages, and resource sustainability.

Inspiration for electricity-free cooling technology

Saharan Silver Ants

Saharan silver ants' skin structure inspired the i2cool team. These ants are covered with a coat of unique hairs that allows sunlight to pass through the surface layer and continue to reflect within, eventually emitting mid-infrared radiation into space. This enables the ants to lower their body temperature and survive in thermally extreme and stressful desert conditions.


Using this mechanism, the i2cool team has created an easy-to-apply coating known as an electricity-free cooling paint (iPaint) by incorporating the technology into a mixture of polymers and nanoparticles. Simply applying the coating to the building causes it to reflect the majority of sunlight (reflectivity > 95%) while also effectively radiating heat in the mid-infrared (emissivity > 95%) to space. The iPaint can achieve the “electricity-free cooling” effect without needing energy or refrigerant. It reduces the energy air conditioners use while maintaining coolness and reducing pollution.

With i2cool's continuing research, we believe electricity-free cooling technology will embrace constant breakthroughs and innovations, injecting more into low-carbon, intelligent, and sustainable development.