Idea Cellular To Deploy Solar Hybrid Methanol Based Fuel Cell at five telecom sites

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In a first ever funding of a Green Telecom project in India by the USTDA, Idea will be supported by ICF International (Fairfax, VA), which will undertake a feasibility study and pilot project that will assess the technical, economic and financial feasibility of deploying methanol based fuel cell (SHMBFC) systems that provide continuous and uninterruptible power to off grid telecom towers at five sites belonging to Idea.


Over a decade ago, Idea initiated passive infrastructure sharing in the Indian Telecom industry, and spear-headed an industry venture which not only later became a viable business project, but was also enshrined in the National Telecom Policy mandate of the Government. Nearly 90% of Idea’s over 100,000 telecom sites are operating from shared locations which has helped the company reduce carbon emissions, and operating costs, substantially.

Way back in 2006, Idea, along with the GSM Association, accomplished a project utilising Bio-fuel for running diesel generators at telecom sites. Idea is the first and only mobile operator in India to use Hydrogen Fuel Cells for running Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) sites.

With a two-fold objective of reducing carbon emission and operating costs, Idea has undertaken several other initiatives such as the deployment of Outdoor BTSs which do not require air conditioning and lead to almost 35% less energy requirement. Over 44% of Idea sites are now outdoors, hence, more energy efficient. Idea uses Low Power Network Hardware, and Re-uses hardware, thus minimizing electronic waste. Over 75% of Idea’s BTSs procured in FY13 are 40% more energy efficient than the existing models.

With the support from organizations such as the USTDA, and global expertise from ICF Inc., Idea aims to undertake and execute more such energy efficient projects for CO2 emission reduction from telecom sites across India.

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