MENA Geothermal has completed the largest geothermal heating and cooling system in the Middle East and North Africa. Completed in August, 2012, the new and deeply clean energy system at the American University of Madaba (AUM) in Jordan has a total cooling load of 1680 kW and a heating load of 1350 kW, which is enough energy to power both the College of Science and the College of Business.
“It reduces CO2 emissions by 223,638 kg CO2/yr or 47% compared with conventional chiller/LPG boiler cooling and heating systems,” the company’s President and Founder Khaled Al Sabawi told Green Prophet, and the project was constructed using 100% local labor and Palestinian engineering and support staff.
Construction of the AUM geothermal system began in July, 2010 and involved drilling 420 boreholes in a vertical configuration 100 meters into the ground.
But unlike drilling for shale oil, geothermal energy is considered to be one of the cleanest, most efficient and safest forms of renewable energy, Al Sabawi explains.
“The only dangers of geothermal are the same potential dangers associated with any electrical appliance in general, but this is very minimal.”
“Considering the CO2 emission reductions, the higher efficiency, lower required maintenance, added to comfort to occupants, and most importantly affordability, geothermal is an excellent alternative to fossil fuels.”
Nonetheless, the firm had to gain permission from a formidable collection of agencies and ministries before he could proceed with this project, which received blessings from Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. (The University belongs to the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem)
“In addition to an environmental impact assessment, we were required to receive approval from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Interior, Jordanian Intelligence Agency, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Water, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Engineering Association, and the Contractors Union. No joke,” said Al Sabawi.
Following AUM’s success, Al Sabawi says his company has received a lot of inquiries from within Jordan.
“The saving are so obvious to the public within the first year of operation. We anticipate a large demand , especially with expected rise in fuels and electricity tariff. Both for commercial and residential applications.”
One of the world’s top energy entrepreneurs and the first licensed geothermal expert in the Middle East and North Africa, Al Sabawi has scooped several awards in the short four years since he founded MENA Geothermal. And his firm is growing rapidly.
Jordan currently imports 46% of its energy and consistently finds itself resorting to dirty and non-renewable sources, including oil shale, to meet the population’s growing demand.
Incorporating clean technology such as solar and geothermal could give the Kingdom greater energy independence and security, something that Al Sabawi would like to see.
“MENA Geothermal has officially opened up an office in Amman, Jordan,” says Al Sabawi, and is currently working on a new, large residential project in the capital.
“Our goal is to make the use of geothermal technology widespread in the MENA region – which is the most energy intensive region in the world – and promote sustainable urban development.”
Lead image via the AUM Facebook page, all others courtesy MENA Geothermal