Submitted by: Dr. Steinmair & Partner Beratende Ingenieure GmbH
Implemented country: Namibia
Title: Cooler Nights through Sunlight
On average, there are not more than two to three people per square kilometer in Namibia. This means that often there are several hundred kilometers of uninhabited area without power supply between villages. This is why remote villages have to make do with diesel generators. “If you don’t take advantage of the opportunity to produce electricity in places where the sun is guaranteed to shine, and very intensely so, then where else?”, Oskar Steinmair asked, who has been working for years in trying to persuade companies to change their approach to issues of energy and the environment.
And this is also why Oskar Steinmair developed a solar-powered power plant for Namibia that provides electricity as well as cold air. Of course there are other great working photovoltaic systems in southern Africa, also small wind-turbine power systems that depend on batteries for storing energy in order to provide electrical power during the night. But such systems are not made to produce cold air, if for no other reason than for cost and capacity reasons. But the solar power plant designed by Oskar Steinmair offers two different solutions for remote villages and settlements in oasis areas. On the one hand it provides power and, on the other hand, any excess energy is stored and converted into hot water or steam. The hot water or steam is collected and stored in a steam accumulator during the day and is cooled through an absorption cooling machine. That way CO2 emissions are reduced and sleeping temperatures become more bearable during the night.
Oskar Steinmair’s solar power plant produces electrical power from the sun via a parabolic reflector and is completely independent, requiring no raw materials whatsoever. It is a simple modular system, meaning that users can easily run the system themselves. The carbon-dioxide-free electricity thus generated is an active contribution to climate protection and at the same time a comfort gain for the Namibian rural population. Oskar Steinmair will readily admit that his solar power plant is not exactly cheap in the beginning, but since it provides free electricity in the long run, the investment makes sense, no matter what.
“Only when everyone is satisfied will peace be possible.”
Dr. Oskar Steinmair