MTN boasts an R 22m 2-MW tri-generation plant.  The tri-generation plant is powered by methane gas, which is piped over 800km from Sasol’s Mozambique gas fields to Egoli Gas in Johannesburg and then to the Company’s Head Office in 14th Avenue, Fairlands.


The tri-gen plant at MTN is unique in that it not only generates electricity from the methane gas but also uses a by-product of the process for cooling purposes.  The 400 °C exhaust gas is sent through lithium bromide absorption chillers to cool water, which MTN uses for the cooling needs of the building.


This means that efficiencies of 85% are achieved.  The chilled water is supplied to the air-handling units, which supply the cooled air for electronic equipment in the building, which houses the test switch centre on the ground floor and the data centre on the first floor.

The cooling of a data centre is said to be one of the most expensive components of its operation, with between 700kW/m2 and 1 400 kW/ m2 required for air-conditioning of the area.  MTN has been able to register the tri-generation plant project as a carbon credit project with the United Nations, which also assisted in offsetting the costs associated with purchasing the gas and the tri-generation plant.

By putting in place this alternative energy supply, MTN has ensured its security of supply, contributed less to emission of greenhouse gases and saved money because the power generated from the tri-generation plant was about half the price of power supplied by City Power.


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