Fuel cell backup power for India's telecom towers

A British firm is to supply over 27,400 hydrogen fuel cell-based backup power systems for telecom towers in India.

UK-based Intelligent Energy has announced a contract with Indian telecoms infrastructure services firm GTL Ltd to supply the hydrogen fuel cell systems, which will replace the diesel generator sets currently used for backup power.

Henri Winand, Intelligent Energy’s CEO, said the contract would bring his firm around £1.2bn ($1.8bn) over a ten-year period.

The company’s Indian subsidiary Essential Energy is to provide energy management for the towers, and intends to transition around 70 per cent from diesel power to hydrogen fuel cell-based systems.

India features around 425,000 telecom towers, over 70 per cent of which experience regular power outages of up to eight hours per day.  

According to Winand, the hydrogen fuel cells are expected to be more efficient and cleaner than diesel gensets, and can be more economical on a total cost of ownership basis than diesel generators.

“Using our technology,” Winand said, “India can leapfrog into an information-driven future without assuming the costs and experiencing the difficulties of first implementing a conventional energy grid.”

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