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India developing fuel cells for telecom sites

Thu, 12/13/2012 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Researchers in India are working towards developing hydrogen-powered fuel cells to be used in place of diesel generators at telecom sites. At present 350 000 mobile towers in the country currently run on diesel.

The National Chemical Laboratory in India is developing this technology along with two other laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The chief head of the project, scientist Ashish Lele said his team has tested a 1KW prototype fuel cell, a first for the country. He said: "We are now preparing for field trials in a scaled-up version of a 3KW fuel cell, which is the minimum requirement to run a mobile tower. The mobile towers have a capacity of 12 KW, far beyond the required capacity to run a single mobile tower," he said.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has decreed that in the next five years 50% of the mobile towers need to run on green energy technology.

The raw materials required to manufacture the components for fuel cells are available in India but at present there are no manufacturers in the country making them.