Title Cool runnings: Aussie inventor who took his heat buster to the world Degree of recognition National Media name/outlet Sydney Morning Herald, The Age Media type Duration/Length/Size 1 page Country Australia Date 2/07/18 Description Professor James Trevelyan’s cooling invention has sold like hot cakes overseas.
His Close Comfort portable airconditioner needs “no pipes, no water, no ice, no installation, practically no maintenance”, he says.
James Trevelyan is the inventor of Cold Comfort.
Trevelyan’s product is small in size, (“similar to an airline carry-on case”); can be moved easily (“17 kilograms, on wheels”); and helps 75 per cent energy saving. “It avoids the need to cool walls, floor and furniture as cooling is directed at one or more users sitting (or sleeping) together. Our aircons provide cool air just where it is needed.”
The turnover of his Perth-based company Close Comfort Pty Ltd in the 2017-18 financial year was around $1 million. “We’re looking to raise US$2 million in capital to position the company for a major expansion of sales.”
Since 2016, Close Comfort has been selling the machines in Pakistan, but has now expanded to Australia, India, Singapore and Indonesia.
When Trevelyan was living in Pakistan in 2004, he says the indoor temperatures “would exceed 40 degrees at night and our airconditioner constantly struggled and would cease to work two to three times at night. I saw a way to transform life for billions of people, if I could develop an affordable, low-power (300 watt) AC running on a rechargeable battery.”
Trevelyan says airconditioning has been “pretty much the same for decades. However, the main challenge is changing the way people think about airconditioning. Most Australians don’t seem to know you can have airconditioning without those huge expensive units on the wall, which require installation.”
An unconventional approach
So, does Trevelyan patent his inventions? “It's expensive, but we have to apply for patents in the countries which we think are going to be our major markets, including Australia. Our unconventional approach also makes it harder for companies to replicate our technology because they are accustomed to airconditioning ideas, which have not changed for decades.”
Trevelyan says among his other patented inventions are a software that allows you to decide when you want to receive your emails and several inventions related to sheep shearing robots, which were funded by the Australian wool industry.
Trevelyan piloted his product in Pakistan. “In Pakistan, we sell online and in stores. Given the continuous running of a normal room airconditioner requires a generator, it is hideously expensive [up to $10 a night in fuel, maintenance and electricity for one bedroom]. We reduce that to 50 cents a night.
“In Australia, given the little awareness of the possibilities of portable airconditioners, entering the market has been challenging.”
So far, Close Comfort has sold about 1500 units and is on target to sell another 800 units by the end of this financial year.
He says the company will target SMEs in Australia. “Examples of applications for SMEs - staff in warehouses, save energy costs by not having to provide airconditioning for separate offices or workstations, airconditioning is mobile and can be used anywhere, even on outdoor construction sites in calm weather.”
Producer/Author Christine D'Mello URL https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/cool-runnings-aussie-inventor-who-took-his-heat-buster-to-the-world-20180628-p4zodd.html Persons James Trevelyan
- air conditioning
- energy efficiency