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Ammonia-powered fuel cell generator powers Romanian Vodafone communications tower

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GenCell Energy,

GenCell Energy and SIMTEL Team (SMTL), the Romanian market leader for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) plant solutions, service provider to the telecom sector, and an EPCM company listed on the AeRO market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange, have deployed a GenCell FOX ammonia-based off-grid power solution field test at a Vodafone-operated mobile telecom tower site in Romania.

The GenCell FOX is a low-temperature alkaline fuel cell that produces electricity from liquid ammonia, one of the most efficient and energy-dense carbon-free hydrogen transporters, with just water, nitrogen, and heat as by-products. The system has been built to meet with stringent zero-emission sustainability goals, to provide reliable electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of the weather, and to minimize operating costs by utilizing inexpensive and widely available liquid ammonia fuel.

Liquid ammonia is less flammable than gasoline, propane, hydrogen, or natural gas, and its pungent stench makes it easy to identify leakage. Liquid ammonia gets outstanding safety records when it is handled according to standards and with the right equipment. Composed of nitrogen and hydrogen, ammonia is carbon-free, and thanks to the widespread availability of existing infrastructure, rising market demand, and technological advancements, ammonia is becoming an increasingly cost-effective source of renewable energy.

GenCell adopts stringent ammonia handling practices. Its equipment includes built-in sensors that promptly halt fuel cell operation upon detecting any leakage. The GenCell FOX is an off-grid device designed for installation in distant areas far from urban centers and requiring minimal on-site maintenance and support.

The purpose of the six-week field test was to evaluate the performance, resilience, and possible cost-savings of the ammonia-based power system. Initial test results indicate that the system provided the needed amount of electricity during the whole duration of the test. The system was automatically run and required minimal involvement from GenCell workers. Vodafone will demonstrate the solution’s resilient and dependable performance to various business divisions before showcasing it to them.

Rami Reshef, CEO GenCell, said: “GenCell is seeing a substantial uptake in interest in its solutions across the telecom sector, especially in Europe where regulations are tightening against carbon emissions. Alkaline fuel cell technology can help operators implement renewable power solutions directly at mobile sites, even when they are located in remote locations and the toughest climate conditions.”

Radu Villau, CTO & Co-Founder of Simtel, said: “We understand the tough power challenges facing our MNO customers. After testing the GenCell’s FOX for more than 1,200 hours continuously in different power loads at a live telecom site, we are confident that the GenCell FOX stand-alone power solution can offer a solution to these challenges, keeping remote mobile towers running continuously while complying with increasingly strict European regulations around the use of fossil fuels. Following this successful field test, we expect to explore more opportunities for deployment of joint projects together by Simtel and GenCell.

Nedim Husomanovic

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