Written By: Emma Websdale
The island of Mauritius is set to become the next country with a Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC) system after a local company lands a $1 million loan for a SWAC project.
The $1 million project, approved by the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), will install a SWAC system—an innovative low-carbon technology that provides air conditioning to buildings using cold deep seawater in place of standard refrigerants—in the island nation’s capital, Port Louise.
The SWAC plant will pump cold water from the Indian Ocean, using it as a coolant for air-conditioning systems within buildings in the capital city and surrounding areas.
Port Louise currently uses around 30 megawatts (MW) of energy annually to power its traditional air-conditioning systems. The SWAC system, when completed, has been projected to use as little as 4 MW, freeing up 26 MW of energy and contributing to a greater power reserve. The SWAC plant will also reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 40,000 tons per year.
Mauritius has been highly dependent on imported petroleum products to meet most of its energy requirements. Along with helping the country reduce this dependency, the SWAC plant will also boost the island’s use of clean energy and create 40 green-technology jobs for local engineers and technicians. The project could also encourage indirect job growth in other industries including aquaculture and pharmaceuticals.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) will aid in the development phase of the project by structuring the project for long-term financing.
“This innovative project, led by a local engineering and construction company, will explore synergies between the ocean and the energy sector in Mauritius to deliver significant cost, energy, and carbon savings while also creating jobs and new business opportunities”, says Alex Rugamba, AfDB’s Energy, Environment, and Climate Change Director.
He adds, “This is perfectly aligned with the Bank’s new strategy, focused on supporting African countries in their transition to more green and inclusive growth models.”