Breakthrough Clean Energy Achieves 10MWh Milestone of Fuel Cell Power Delivered to Indian Telecom Sites

CIOReview Team | Monday, 04 April 2016, 12:03 IST

Essential Energy, the distributed power and generation company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK listed Intelligent Energy Holdings has announced it has, in just three months, delivered over 10MWh of clean and efficient power to telecom towers in India.  The breakthrough clean energy project, which will run for ten years, saved more than 55 tons of CO2 emissions.

The clean, reliable power was generated from the initial selected fuel cells operating in the field since the INR 12000 crore 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. Essential Energy purchased contracts from GTL Limited to supply energy management services to over 27,400 telecom towers and will phase out and replace diesel generators with clean hydrogen powered fuel cells over the next 10 years, as and where appropriate.

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. 

In addition, since beginning the deployment of units on a limited number of the sites, Essential Energy, has successfully demonstrated energy availability of nearly 100% at the sites.

Peter Brown, Managing Director of Essential Energy India Pvt. Ltd., 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 ten 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. 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 sectors.”

Intelligent Energy is currently deploying its patented “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 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. 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.

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