Telia tests fuel cells for more reliable telecom traffic

All of Telia’s telecom exchanges are powered by the ordinary power grid in Sweden. If there is a power outage, a backup system starts up to power the exchanges. These backup systems consist of batteries and diesel-powered generators today.

Fuel cells are more reliable and efficient in operation, and have lower operating costs, than today’s backup power systems. Fuel cell technology is also more environmentally friendly. Because fuel cells lack moving parts, wear-and-tear and maintenance are minimised, leading to reduced operating and maintenance costs in the long term.

The pioneering test will hopefully change, and especially improve, future backup power systems for telecommunications. The experiences so far indicate that the technology delivers what it promises.

“We will carefully monitor and evaluate the tests and we expect the fuel cell system to minimise disturbances when there are major power failures or other types of external disturbances. Another important advantage of this technology is the environmental benefits,” says Ove Alm, Network Manager at TeliaSonera Sweden.

The first telecom exchange equipped with fuel cell technology is being inaugurated today near Lovsjö, in the Swedish province of Småland. The fuel cells at this exchange now function as a source of power in the event of a grid failure. When the power supply is interrupted, fuel stored in the cells will provide enough power for up to five days (120 hours) of continuous operation. The fuel cell technology project will be conducted over a two-year period.