District cooling, which uses chilled water to cool buildings, is being tried in a few places such as Toronto, Cornell University and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. Its proponents say the technology consumes 90% less energy compared with traditional air-conditioning. Now, it will be used in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar very shortly.
In automated vacuum waste collection systems, garbage is sorted out and then sucked away at high speed through underground tubes to a central location, which can be as far as 20 km away. It is being used in cities such as London, Montreal, Stockholm and Barcelona. No Indian city has these technologies yet.
These concepts may be widely used in smart cities of future as they are considered sustainable. District cooling, for example, can be used easily with renewable energy. Automated waste collection can be combined with biomass energy generation systems, so GIFT (Gujarat International Tec-City) Finance will burn waste to generate energy. Greenfield cities such as GIFT have an opportunity to test new technologies before they are adopted in existing Indian cities.
Narendra Modi would not have thought of Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) as the test-bed for future city technologies, but his dream project in Gandhinagar may well have this interesting spillover. Work on the proposed Rs 78,000-crore nano city has now started, and the first occupant may move in by March.