Arup has been instrumental in bringing to life the ZINARA (Zimbabwe National Roads Agency) Toll Plaza near Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, a completely off-grid toll plaza.
The project is part of Arup??s appointment with Group Five International ?? Zimbabwe Branch, for the 822km Plumtree to Mutare roads upgrade. Group Five, a Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed company, has operations in Africa, Indian Ocean Islands and selected Eastern Europe countries.
The Toll Plaza??s only source of power is derived from solar panels installed on the roof over the plaza lanes and collection booths. The project is part of the Zimbabwe government??s initiative to upgrade the logistics network and support anticipated growth, which will see a total of eight toll plazas constructed and operated across the country. The Plazas will be operated by Intertoll, a subsidiary of Group Five.
Arup was tasked with delivering a suitable off-grid power supply for the plazas in Zimbabwe, and provided civil, structural, mechanical and electrical, public health and infrastructure engineering services. To demonstrate the viability of the scheme, Arup developed a unique model to simulate expected seasonal generation and daily load trends. This established that solar panels could supply more than 80% of the load needed to power the plaza, with diesel generation provided as back-up. The plaza operates completely independently of the electricity grid, reducing the carbon footprint of the plaza. Reduction of the total electrical load of the plazas was critical to the success of the off-grid system. This was achieved by utilising energy efficient, state-of-the-art lighting technology, as well as implementing an innovative electrical load management system.
Paul Trewartha, senior electrical engineer and electrical design manager on the project, Arup said: ?Sustainable traffic management solutions will influence our future heavily so this was the perfect opportunity to develop a concept that would help save valuable energy and reduce energy costs. We are also thrilled to be involved in a project that will aid growth and support Zimbabwe??s economy.??