In October 2016, SEKEM and Heliopolis University (HU) held a huge event on SEKEM Farm, where the first solar thermal power plant of its kind in Egypt was constructed. The Egyptian minister of higher education and scientific research, Dr. Ashraf Al-Sheihy, and many other high profile guests attended the event to inaugurate the operation of this enormous project, which will be conducted and monitored by the Engineering faculty of HU.
The solar thermal power plant is a part of the European Union funded-project “Small Scale Thermal Solar District Units for Mediterranean Communities”. The project is a result of joint cooperation in the field of renewable energy between Egypt, Greece, Italy and Cyprus. Using different mechanisms, thermal solar plants are established in each country by scientific research teams who conduct a comparative study then in order to figure out the best output and techniques.
Cooling SEKEMs Medical Center by the Power of the Sun
This one-of-a-kind power station in Egypt on the SEKEM Farm, is operated by the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technique. A heat-transferring oil is heated by the concentrated solar vacuum tubes, thermal energy is generated then and transferred to a thermal cooling chiller and an electricity generator. A 35 kilowatt chiller is connected to an air-conditioning network of SEKEMs Medical Center and functions as a small-scale trial of the thermal cooling system application. Meanwhile, a 5 kilowatt electricity generator is connected to the electricity grid, with the aim of scaling down the general electricity consumption. “The scientific research projects are turned into an industry that provides real jobs and create products bringing hard currency”, the Egyptian minister for higher education, Dr. Ashraf Al-Sheihy, stated.
The promising installation and research project is supported by different institutions and authorities. Hence, the staff of the Engineering department at HU, who will handle the processing of this project, attended training sessions offered by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT), cooperates with the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) and receives material from El-Sweedy Electric Company. SEKEM was selected as appropriate institution and place to host the solar power station, as it has already many experiences in installing but also researching in solar energy projects.
Applied research for promoting sustainable energies
The launching event on the SEKEM Farm was attended by around 200 representatives from different international institutions. Funded among others by the European Union the project shall promote the application of alternative energies by combining applied researches with international technology cooperation. It can be considered as a further step in building successful innovative approaches serving the communities. “This multi-organizational project, is an opening door, not only for conducting studies and scientific researches by the HU, but also for achieving a governmental strategy of reducing the consumption”, says Dr. Heba Mosalam, from the HU-Engineering Department, who is one of the persons in charge of monitoring the solar power plant.