Czech PRT to test a unique passive cooling technology in Logar

Oct 12, 2010

At first sight, innovative technologies do not tend to accord with reconstruction work well, and particularly not in countries such as Afghanistan wrecked by three decades of wars, were even the very essentials of everyday life fail to work oftentimes. In fact, though, they are facilitating development.

The Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team is constructing a mortuary on the premises of a district hospital in Logar Province at the request of the local branch of the Ministry of Health.

The hospital is the largest facility in the province and provides treatment to serious injuries caused by traffic accidents and insurgent attacks, said Ahmatullah Nalam, the director of the Pol-e Alam-based hospital. Unfortunately, this vital medical facility is unable to properly care for the bodies of deceased patients, the director added. The Czech PRT is instituting innovative technology to solve the hospital’s problem.

The PRT just started construction on the mortuary, which is being built using a design to allow for natural cooling, increasing the sanitation and hygiene of the hospital’s cadaver storage.

The mortuary, which is currently under construction, will utilize a special design to allow for the space intended for the deposition of cadavers to undergo a process of natural cooling.

"One of the options was to construct a regular building and install a power generator plus an air-conditioning system to cool the facility,” said Klára Janotová, a civil engineer from the PRT´s civilian section, acting as manager of the mortuary project. “The option would have dramatically increased the costs going into the hospital´s operation due to the diesel needed for the generator.”

With that in mind, the PRT designed the mortuary using energy from a solar chimney.

“In its simplest form, the role of a solar chimney is played by a freshly painted shaft,” Janotová explained. “Within the area of the chimney, the air gets heated and, under the rule of the physical law stating that hot air tends to run high, the air surrounding the shaft is soaked into underground collectors [cools]. As a result, an ascending stream of air emerges, cooling down the mortuary interior.”

The advantage of this system is its capability to maintain a low temperature even during the summer.

“The higher the outside temperatures, the higher the temperatures inside the chimney, [which increases the speed of air flow]. Moreover, in terms of Afghan personnel, the cooling system is basically maintenance free,” Janotová adds.

Once the mortuary system is fully tested, the Czech PRT plans to implement the technology in more new construction projects. A similar mortuary is also needed Braki Barak and Mohammad Agha districts.

Kristyna Greplova - Civilian Part of PRT

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