MTN South Africa moves towards green efficiency

MTN South Africa’s CEO, Zunaid Bulbulia, has revealed that the network service provider has established the continent’s first concentrating solar cooling system to power its data centres.
Said Bulbulia: “MTN is acutely aware of the impact of global warming and its adverse impact on emerging markets, including SA. We continuously explore ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint and substantially reduce our electricity consumption, which will release additional capacity for the national grid.” The cooling system, at MTN’s head office in Johannesburg, is driven by Linear Fresnel concentrating solar power (CSP) technology, which uses heat generated from the sun and has a peak cooling capacity of 330 kilowatts.
It includes 242 solar mirrors that cover a total area of 484m2 which track the sun to generate pressurised hot water at 180˚C. The mirrors move into a self-cleaning position when it rains, and turn down into a protective stow position on cloudy days.
The hot water powers an absorption chiller that produces chilled water circulated into the data centre for the cooling of IT equipment.
The parties involved in designing the cooling system included REACH Renewable, AOS Consulting Engineers, Industrial Solar and Voltas Technologies, among others. Olu Soluade, managing director of AOS Consulting Engineers, explained that the cooling system was one step towards businesses becoming more environmentally conscious of their operations. “The development of sustainable solutions and the implementation of technologies for the benefit of mankind is the prerogative of all of us. The continuous commitment to the reduction of our carbon footprint
is the hallmark of sustainable development administered by professionals,” said Soluade.
Cristian Cernat, managing director of Voltas Technologies, added that the cooling system and its innovation could extend beyond renewable energy and into making a broader economic contribution. “The opportunity to model and design the installation using a high temperature heat source, architecturally integrated, creates a real opportunity for local manufacturing and future job creation in the field of renewable energy equipment production in our country.”
In 2010, MTN revealed SA’s first tri-generation methane-powered plant to electrify a new building housing a data centre and a test switch centre.
– AfricaOutlook