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UNEP explores seawater air conditioning in Egypt

EGYPT: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been working on a feasibility study for a seawater air conditioning system in New Alamein City, on the north coast of Egypt.

In a country where city temperatures can hit 40ºC from May to September, it is estimated that 50% of electric power goes to air conditioning during the peak summer months.

New Alamein is currently under construction in northwest Egypt. It is situated on the Mediterranean coast, approximately 85km west of Borg El Arab International Airport. The city has its own presidential palace and ministry building, three universities, fifteen skyscrapers and high rise towers, and 10,000 hotel rooms. Work has begun on Phase II of the New Alamein megaproject, which includes ten additional coastal towers.

The project would use cold water from deep in the Mediterranean and initially consist of a single district cooling plant to be built over two years. Its capacity of 30,000TR would be  sufficient to cool entire neighbourhoods and would cost an estimated US$117m in building production facilities and a further US$20-25m for the distribution network.

The feasibility study to assess the potential for district cooling in New Alamein City is expected to analyse whether it would be financially and technically viable to build a district cooling solution that would reduce or avoid using HFC refrigerants.

The study was initiated through the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol, and UNEP supported the development of an institutional framework. 

In Egypt, UNEP’s OzonAction team is also supporting the development, update, enactment and enforcement of specialised nationwide codes for ACs, district cooling and refrigerant management, as well as green procurement processes.

The UNEP-led Cool Coalition is helping cities in India, Viet Nam and Cambodia develop environmentally-friendly cooling strategies. It is also supporting the construction of networks of freezers that can hold everything from farm produce to Covid-19 vaccines.

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