Ballard Power Systems and Indian telecom operator Idea Cellular are piloting a methanol-fuelled system to power telecom sites. Ballard will supply ElectraGen ME fuel cell systems that will be used with solar technology to generate continuous power at five Idea Cellular’s wireless base station sites.
The project has been funded by United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for a feasibility study and for the pilot project. This project will support Idea Cellular’s efforts to find clean energy solutions to replace the use of diesel generators in its network throughout India. The trial is scheduled for early this year with Ballard’s 2.5 kilowatt methanol-based fuel cell systems.
India’s Department of Telecommunications has mandated that at least 50 percent of all rural towers and 20 percent of urban towers be powered using clean energy systems by 2015. The regulation is targeted at reducing the country’s reliance on diesel generators, which currently power 60 percent of all wireless base station sites. Backup ions based on fuel cell technology benefits include higher reliability across a wide range of operating conditions, lower maintenance costs, longer operating life as well as reduced size, weight, installation footprint, noise signature and environmental impact.