Mauritius Takes Step Closer to Sea Water Air Conditioning System

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Published: 28 October 2016


joseph plateau engineering platform
The Joseph Plateau engineering platform - photo courtesy of African Development Bank
The island of Mauritius moved a stage closer to replacing some its current air conditioning systems, which use fossils fuels for power, with a new system which uses sea water from the Indian Ocean for cooling. 
​The world's largest marine engineering platform, the 'Joseph Plateau', sailed into the island's capital Port Louis to begin work surveying offshore recently. The vessel is helping to introduce a new low carbon cooling system which will use cold sea water for air conditioning systems on the island.
​Mauritius imports fossil fuels to generate electricity to power its air conditioning systems, which generates harmful greenhouse gases. The island's government wants to make their infrastructure more energy efficient and better for the environment. 

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) is supporting the so-called Deep Ocean Water Applications (DOWA) project to develop the 'sea water air conditioning' system. The system takes cold sea water from the Indian Ocean to cool buildings in Port Louis' business district and properties nearby. 

When finished, the new system will replace air conditioning systems which use 30MW of electricity with the sea water system which will use only 4MW. The saved power will be used for other purposes and it will increase the island's 'reserve margin' of electricity making power supply more reliable. The project team expects the new system will save 40,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year and create 40 direct jobs for local engineers and technicians. 
Joao Duarte Cunha, AfDB Chief Climate Finance Officer, stated:
​“As the continent transitions toward green and inclusive growth models, innovative solutions such at this pioneering project hold the key to future cost, energy and carbon savings in countries which suffer from unreliable and insufficient energy supply.

​"The first of its kind on the continent, the African Development Bank encourages more projects of this nature which unlock the potential of renewable energy, while improving people's livelihoods and safeguarding the environment.”
​The first phase is co-funded by African Development Bank-administered SEFA with a $1 million grant for marine surveys.