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Telecom company MTN has installed a concentrating solar cooling system to cool down data centres at its head office in Johannesburg, South Africa
Officials at MTN said that the system comprises 242 solar mirrors, covering an area of 484 sq m. These mirrors track the sun using GPS to generate pressurised hot water at 180ºC. In turn, the hot water powers an absorption chiller that produces cold water, which is circulated into the data centre to cool IT equipment.
When it rains, the mirrors move into a self-cleaning position, and on cloudy days, the mirrors turn downwards into a protective stow-like position.
According to the company, the absorption chiller with lithium bromide water solution is green — it has zero global warming potential and no ozone depletion potential.
Zunaid Bulbulia, CEO of MTN South Africa, said, ”MTN is acutely aware of the impact of global warming and its adverse impact on emerging markets, including South Africa. We continuously explore ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint and electricity consumption, releasing additional capacity for the national grid.”
The plant is powered by technology called Linear Fresnel Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) that uses heat generated from the sun and has a peak cooling capacity of 330kW.
The plant’s cooling system was designed by REACH Renewable, AOS Consulting Engineers and implemented jointly with Industrial Solar, Voltas Technologies and Luft Technik. The project’s development was supported by teams from ISF Services, Classen Auret, Project Works, DSM and Pentad.
Cristian Cernat, MD of Voltas Technologies, added, ”The opportunity to model and design the installation using a high-temperature heat source, architectonically integrated, creates a real opportunity for local manufacturing and future job creation in the field of renewable energy equipment production in our country.”
According to reports, this solar project is part of Dena Solar Roofs Programme — a global effort coordinated by the German Energy Agency and supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.