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August 10, 2012

Geothermal Cooling Startup GIBSS

Business Today has a profile of Mumbai-based start-up Green India Building Systems and Services (GIBSS) which uses geothermal technology to slash the power requirements of air conditioners.
In a conventional system, the cooling tower of an air conditioning plant sucks out the heat from an enclosed space, and ejects it into the environment. The technology GIBSS has designed uses instead a heat exchanger system to deflect the heat into the earth's crust. As the temperature just a few metres below the earth's surface is much lower than that of the air above, the energy transfer is more efficient, reducing power consumption.

...Equally challenging has been convincing customers. "Most companies didn't know what we were talking about," says Shenoy. The companies were also taken aback by the installation costs, which range from a few lakh rupees to a few crores, depending on the size of the establishment. "High upfront costs are the biggest roadblock," says Kumar of TERI. But Shenoy and Kaprekar have designed a payment model which seems to be working. "Since we assure clients they will save power right from the first month after installation, we tell them they can pay in equal monthly installments out of the money they save on power," says Shenoy. "They will be able to pay back the full amount in less than two years."

Investors have seen potential in GIBSS: investment firm Hyderabad Angels committed Rs 2 crore in February this year. "GIBSS has a multi-billion dollar opportunity before it," says Sashi Reddy, Founder and lead investor, Hyderabad Angels. Shenoy is reluctant to discuss financials, but says his company has been growing 200 per cent year-on-year. He is aiming at revenues of Rs 300 core by 2013/14.


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