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MTN launches solar cooling plant in SA

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South Africa’s mobile telecoms operator MTN has launched a gigantic solar cooling plant at its nerve center in Johannesburg. The system is intended to refrigerate the company’s data centers.Solar cooling plant

The facility, which produces sufficient electricity to power 350 average-sized homes, uses Linear Fresnel Concentrating Solar Power technology. It has peak cooling capacity of 330Kw.

The system has 242 solar mirrors covering an area of 484 square meters. The mirrors track the sun to produce pressurized hot water at 180oC, which powers an “absorption chiller”. The chiller produces cooled water that circulates into the data centre for cooling IT equipment. The chillers use lithium-bromide water solution that relies on water for cooling. It is also expected to avert some 218 tons of carbon dioxide discharged yearly.

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The mirrors track the sun’s movement and generate information that is redirected to the system, allowing it to monitor the sun and focus it on the heated central absorber tube.

The project is part of the global “dena Solar Roofs Programme” supported by the German federal ministry for economic affairs and energy in partnership with the German Energy Agency.

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