MTN cools its data
MTN has reaffirmed its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint by unveiling Africa’s first solar cooling system that will power its energy-hungry data centres.
The system was designed by Reach Renewable and AOS Consulting Engineers. It was implemented jointly with Industrial Solar, Voltas Technologies and Luft Technik, and supported by the professional team comprising ISF Services, Classen Auret, Project Works, DSM and Pentad.
It is driven by a cutting-edge technology called Linear Fresnel Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) that uses heat generated from the sun. It has a peak cooling capacity of 330 kW.
The system consists of 242 solar mirrors, covering a total area of 484 m², which track the sun to generate pressurised hot water at 180°C. The hot water, in turn, powers an absorption chiller that produces chilled water, which is circulated into the data centre for cooling of information technology equipment.
The mirrors follow the movement of the sun, based on the Global Positioning System location, orientation and the date and time. This information guides the system to track the sun to concentrate on the central absorber tube, where heat is generated.
The absorption chiller uses a lithium bromide water solution, which uses water as the refrigerant. This is a completely green solution that has zero global warming potential and no ozone depletion potential. When it rains, the mirrors move into a self-cleaning position and, on cloudy days, the mirrors turn down into a protective stow position.
Zunaid Bulbulia, chief executive officer at MTN South Africa, says the CSP system cements MTN’s green credentials. “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, at the same time, substantially reduce our electricity consumption, which will release additional capacity for the national grid.”