Breakthrough clean energy achieves 10MWh milestone of fuel cell power delivered to Indian telecom sites
Breakthrough clean energy achieves 10MWh milestone of fuel cell power delivered to Indian telecom sites
author Added by FuelCellsWorks, February 01, 2016

Loughborough (UK) and Bangalore (India) -- Intelligent Energy, the global energy technology company, today announced it has, in just three months, delivered over 10MWh of clean and efficient power to telecom towers in India, enough energy to power approximately 20,000 UK homes for an hour.  The breakthrough clean energy project, which will run for ten years, saved more than 55 tons of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of 60,000 pounds of coal burnt in its first quarter in operation.

The clean, reliable power was generated from the initial selected fuel cells operating in the field since the £1.2bn deal with GTL, to provide power to telecom towers, was announced on 1 October 2015. India’s telecoms network burns billions of litres of diesel every year in backup generators to keep telecom towers operational because of persistent grid failure. Intelligent Energy purchased contracts from GTL Limited to supply energy management services to over 27,400 telecom towers via its wholly owned Indian subsidiary Essential Energy and will phase out and replace diesel generators with clean hydrogen powered fuel cells over the next 10 years.

This landmark deal represented a major milestone in hydrogen fuel cell commercialisation. Over time, it is expected to have a transformative impact on India’s poor air quality and inefficient power generation. Already, this initial fleet has reduced up to 55 tons of harmful CO2including toxic particulate emissions which were emitted by the diesel generators previously used to provide power to the cell towers.

In addition, since beginning the deployment of units on a limited number of the sites, Intelligent Energy, via Essential Energy, has successfully increased the up time of the telecom towers to nearly 100%.

Peter Brown, Managing Director of Intelligent Energy’s Distributed Power & Generation division, explains: “We have clearly demonstrated that not only can our fuel cell technology provide more efficient, cleaner power in challenging remote areas, but that it has a clear role to play in helping India manage its emissions and tackle concerns on air quality issues. We have done only a small proportion of the work that we intend to do over the next 10 years and the results are really impressive. Extrapolated over a larger scale and they could be game-changing.

“Importantly, what has been demonstrated is that the technology is robust, it is working well and it is performing well in the field as we expected it to, following all the tests we have had in place since 2011. The first fuel cells deployed have delivered so much already.

“We believe this deal is facilitating the largest deployment of fuel cells in history and we remain on track to hit our medium term targets for our Essential Energy business to manage power for 125,000-135,000 towers in the medium term.

“The potential for growth in India is incredibly exciting. Over time, we believe our fuel cells can provide similar benefits in a number of other territories.”

Intelligent Energy is currently deploying its patented so called “305” modular fuel cell systems into India to provide the power. These systems utilise the same technology Intelligent Energy has developed over a number of years, that is licensed to Suzuki to develop its fuel cell powered Burgman scooter.  In addition, the modular “305” fuel cell unit can be monitored remotely using Intelligent Energy’s proprietary remote asset monitoring technology (AMBIS) to optimise performance and operation through real-time system data analysis.

The transaction agreed in September and announced on 1 October aims to deliver contracted revenues of approximately £1.2 billion over ten years to Intelligent Energy and demonstrates India’s long-term commitment to fuel cell technology.

The deployment of Intelligent Energy’s award winning hydrogen fuel cell technology to power Indian telecom towers marks a watershed transformation of the Indian power grid, previously faulted for stifling India’s economic growth due to persistent unreliability. Over 70% of India’s circa 425,000 telecom towers experience power outages of approximately eight hours per day leaving nearly half of the country’s 935 million mobile phone users frequently disconnected for extended periods. Diesel generators are used to keep telecom towers operational during persistent grid blackouts, burning over 2.5 billion litres of diesel annually, but as a fuel, diesel is costly, inefficient, and emits high levels of CO2, NOx and harmful carcinogenic particulate emissions.

Hydrogen fuel cells are proving to be more efficient and cleaner and can be more economical on a total cost of ownership basis than diesel generators.