THEnergy-GenCell report: Green hydrogen and ammonia to provide telecom backup power

Telecom providers are struggling now. The Ukraine conflict has interrupted global energy supplies and raised costs. Power also causes global warming. CO2 trading and carbon taxes will raise fossil fuel prices, it appears. Telecommunications companies are also trying to cut carbon emissions. Many have large clean power purchase agreements.

Directly decarbonizing their network infrastructure by including renewable energy sources and battery energy storage technologies is the next item on their decarbonization agenda. However, because extended periods of bad weather, like low solar irradiation, cannot be covered, this frequently isn’t enough to totally replace diesel gensets. Even though they are connected to on-site solar power facilities, many telecom towers still heavily rely on diesel generators.

Fuel cells and hydrogen are useful in this situation. Alkaline fuel cell technology has been improved by GenCell so that it is even more suitable for stationary remote applications. The state-of-the-art device is extremely effective and can use industrial hydrogen rather than hydrogen of the highest purity. When hydrogen is utilized as a fuel to go to far-off telecom installations, this is quite beneficial. GenCell has improved their backup power solution by including an ammonia cracker that effectively converts ammonia on-site to hydrogen because hydrogen is difficult to store. Now, telecom companies may use inexpensive ammonia to power their remote infrastructure at fuel costs that are competitive with diesel. As extreme weather conditions occur more frequently as a result of climate change, GenCell systems are more resilient than diesel generators in this regard. These ideas have been put to the test in Iceland under adverse weather circumstances by Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and Neyarlnan ohf.

There are no longer any justifications for telecom providers, according to the analysis. The managing director of THEnergy, a consultancy that specializes in distant power applications and hydrogen, Thomas Hillig, one of the authors, notes that “the technology to dump polluting diesel at remote telecom sites exists: it is time to act now.”