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Tent city seeks cool solution for Mecca pilgrims


Technology from South Australia, one of the driest states on earth, is being used to provide 50,000 air conditioners to the world’s largest tent city as it prepares for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

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South Australian company Seeley International is supplying its Breezair coolers to the Mina Valley tent village in Saudi Arabia in what it says is the world’s largest order of evaporative air conditioners.

The 20sq km Mina tent city is located 5km east of the Holy City of Mecca and is packed with 100,000 air-conditioned tents that accommodate up to 3 million people during the annual five-day pilgrimage.

Seeley International Founder and Executive Chairman, Frank Seeley said the enormous bulk order of Breezair systems by the Saudi Government and Ministry of Hajj was the result of a stringent three-year tender process.

“Our Breezair evaporative air conditioner was found to outperform more than 200 other air conditioning brands and delivered spectacular results against a comprehensive set of criteria that included energy-efficiency, reliability, performance and low environmental impact,” he said.

“The three-year tender evaluation process saw Breezair and other contenders tested on site over several months, in all conditions and seasons, including comparative tests done during a pilgrimage to assess performance under real-world conditions.

“The in-built safety mechanisms, economical use of water, ease of control and compact design were critical in Breezair being successfully selected.”

Seeley International is Australia’s largest manufacturer of air conditioners and exports to more than 100 countries.

Developed in South Australia, a state known for its extreme heat and dryness, Breezair air conditioners feature unique Mini-cell Chillcel evaporative cooling pad technology that is specifically designed to maximise cooling in harsh climates.

Air conditioning in the tent city in Makkah Province will be of great importance in the next decade as this year’s Hajj begins on August 19.

Average maximum temperatures in Mecca are about 43C in August and only cool down to a minimum of 30C overnight. The Hajj will fall in July and June from 2020-2025. These months have even higher average daily maximums of 44C.

“The harsh summertime temperatures in the Mina Valley, which can easily reach more than 45C, were overcome by the capability of Breezair evaporative air conditioners,” Seeley said.

Seeley International Sales Director Xavier Delaigue said the four-year air conditioner replacement plan began in 2015 as part of a Saudi Government and Ministry of Hajj commitment to improve accommodation for pilgrims in the Mina Valley.

“Seeley International fast-tracked production and installation so the project is now well ahead of schedule and expected to be completed during 2018,” he said.

Delaigue said the Seeley Breezair was selected because, unlike refrigerated air conditioning, the cool evaporative air doesn’t dry out the skin, nose or eyes and brought continual fresh air into a room rather than recycling stale air.

Seeley International is headquartered in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, and its products are distributed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by Alsaeed HVAC, which commissioned and supervised the large installation.

Alsaeed Trading Group CEO Salman Alsaeed said the unit’s energy efficiency was important because the Saudi Government and Ministry of Hajj wanted to proactively achieve substantial energy savings.

“Achieving a 35 per cent energy savings in the Mina Valley thanks to Breezair cooling technology demonstrates advanced technology and a strong commitment to the environment.”

Frank Seeley started the company in Adelaide in 1972 and now employs 650 people at factories in Australia and the United States.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story. Copied to Clipboard

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