Nokia Siemens Networks is working with Ballard Power Systems, Inc. to develop mobile networks that can continue to operate during power blackouts. Japanese operator NTT DOCOMO has evaluated the Nokia Siemens Networks Flexi Multiradio base station site offering with integrated fuel cell backup for potential commercial deployment. The solution has been installed at a DOCOMO R&D Center test site in Japan’s Yokosuka Research Park (YRP).
“Mobile networks can be vital when a natural disaster strikes, and power outages make other forms of communication difficult,” said Mark Donaldson, head of energy solutions for mobile broadband networks at Nokia Siemens Networks. “Integrating fuel cells with our base stations can significantly increase the resilience of the mobile networks we provide.”
“Our fuel cell systems provide power for extended periods during outages caused by natural calamities and commercial grid failures,” said Larry Stapleton, vice president of sales, Ballard. “The collaboration with Nokia Siemens Networks has helped us leverage our service and integration expertise in order to deliver an emergency-ready alternative power solution for mobile networks.”
Backup power solutions based on fuel cell technology deliver a number of advantages over conventional batteries and diesel generators. These include higher reliability across a wide range of operating conditions, lower maintenance costs, longer operating life as well as reduced size, weight, installation footprint, noise signature and environmental impact.
The fuel cell weight and size are significantly less in comparison to existing lead acid batteries that are typically used in many base stations to provide backup power for extended outages. The base station and fuel cell combination developed by Nokia Siemens Networks with Ballard can provide 4.5 kW of power for approximately 40 hours on a single tank of fuel.
The solution from Nokia Siemens Networks and Ballard Power Systems has already received the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) statutory approval in Japan. After delivering and setting up the fuel cell at a test site in YRP, Nokia Siemens Networks participated in and cleared DOCOMO’s evaluation tests.