Delta Obstruction Lighting (DOL) has exploded on to the Egyptian energy scene with a contract to illuminate two 150m plus cooling towers at the country’s newest power station – currently under construction. It is an explosion it will be preventing, however, at Cairo West Power Plant just outside the Egyptian capital, as its lighting solution will ward off incoming aircraft for years to come.

DOL managing director Tariq Mukhtar said: “We are delighted to be working on such a high-profile job as Cairo West. Despite having little experience in Egypt we have proved on numerous occasions that we can install aircraft warning systems at short notice, anywhere in the world.”

The company was referred to Cairo West chief contractors, KEPCO, by associate company James Walker Townson (JWT), which has worked closely with DOL on a number of high-profile UK jobs. On JWT’s advice KEPCO decided to dispatch a representative to Delta HQ in Oldham and during a lightning quick visit to meet Delta representatives and tour the Wrigley Street factory, he saw enough to award the contract on his return to Egypt.

Mr Mukhtar said: “In this game there are no referrals without good service, so we pride ourselves on our unique aptitude for complex scenarios, customised solutions, premium-grade products and all-round reliability and service. In the rare case of someone being unhappy with our service we will do everything in our power to put it right. This is why we gain so many referrals, this is why we won the Cairo West contract and this is why we continue to develop.”

Situated on the West Bank of the Nile just 12.5km from downtown Cairo, the site for the Cairo West 700MW thermal power plant was chosen because of its proximity to water and fuel, as well as major consumption centres. When finished in 2011, it will supply a large section of Egypt’s capital city with the energy it needs to function within the national and global economy.

While that fact may be taken for granted by energy users, energy experts know all too well the effect of a sudden station shutdown and work tirelessly to reduce the risk of that happening. Due to Cairo West’s huge cooling towers, incoming aircraft to nearby Cairo International Airport are a major danger, made greater by Cairo’s incredible population density. To overcome it KEPCO issued a brief to illuminate the power plant’s towers in a way that would not only meet international civil aviation regulations but exceed them.

With more than 30 years’ experience in the business, DOL has developed a portfolio of unique and efficient LED lighting products that exceed international, civil and federal aviation authority requirements. The use of an LED array creates a long-lasting light unit that is easily assembled and operated. All units are designed to be compact, efficient and safe. With low maintenance requirements, these long-lasting LED lights can operate individually to avoid complete light failure.

After much deliberation DOL proposed a lighting system equipping each tower with 24 lights – 48 in total. Each tower would house:

  • Eight Delta-designed low-intensity WL75s, a weatherproof aviation obstruction light with highly reliable LED banks, known for supreme energy efficiency. With more than 100,000 burning hours, the light’s high-quality aviation red colour eliminates the need for additional colour filters.
  • Eight Delta-designed medium intensity WL2500s. Using less than 50W of power the beacon, which incorporates state-of-the-art LEDs into an efficient optical design, lasts for up to 10 years, saves light wastage with a tight beam and can be flashed or steady burned.
  • Eight high-intensity WL99s (sourced from outside), an unidirectional, white flashing strobe light designed to provide 120° horizontal, with narrow vertical beam pattern. Made from stainless steel, it contains an automatic day/twilight/night light intensity adjustor and is capable of flash synchronisation.

Each tower will be split into four levels with level one at the top, 150m above ground level, and the other three levels at 40m intervals from there down. On levels one and three, four WL99s will alternate with four WL2500s at 45° intervals. On levels two and four, four WL75s will be fixed at 90° intervals.

To ensure their correct operation, all the lights will be monitored by GSM communicators from a central control facility. The lights will be designed at DOL’s Wrigley Street factory in Oldham and installed by sister company Delta International Steeplejacks (DSJ), one of the most experienced companies in the world at high-altitude installation.

DOL’s proposal was subsequently approved by KEPCO and the lights have since been designed, manufactured and shipped via Felixstowe to Egypt. A team of DSJ supervisors is now eagerly awaiting the completion of the towers, scheduled for the end of April, so they can begin installing the new system.

Mr Mukhtar said: “We’re positively champing at the bit to get the final stage of this project completed. It is an example of how far our reputation for providing aircraft warning systems from design, right through to installation, has spread throughout the energy sector and the world in general. We see Egypt as a very important market for us in future, so the more work we do there the more people will see our products and become aware of our services.”