£1.2 Billion for Telecom Fuel Cells in India

October 01, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

Intelligent Energy will purchase contracts from GTL Limited to supply energy-management services across more than 27,400 telecom towers in India. This landmark deal, which was signed post UK market close on Wednesday 30 September and, represents a major milestone in hydrogen fuel cell development and is expected to have a transformative impact on India's energy market by creating high efficiencies and cost savings alongside reducing emissions.

Essential Energy, a subsidiary of Intelligent Energy in India, will assume the power management for over 27,400 mobile telecom towers; a figure equivalent to 50 per cent of the U.K.’s telecom towers and 13 per cent of the U.S.’ Essential Energy intends to transition around 70 per cent of the managed telecom towers from diesel power to hydrogen fuel cells throughout their contracts’ tenure.

“This transaction delivers contracted revenues of approximately £1.2 billion over ten years, which is a major development for Intelligent Energy and the industry,” said Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy Holdings. “Our technology will not only help to bring a stable, reliable power supply to these towers, it will also demonstrate the full power of hydrogen fuel cells today, and in the future.”

The deployment of hydrogen fuel-cell power to Indian telecom towers marks a watershed transformation of the Indian power grid, previously faulted for stifling India’s economic growth due to persistent unreliability. Over 70% of India’s circa 425,000 telecom towers experience power outages of approximately eight hours per day leaving nearly half of the country’s 935 million mobile phone users frequently disconnected for extended periods.

Diesel generators are currently the main back-up power source, but as a fuel, diesel is costly, inefficient, and emits high levels of CO2, NOx and harmful carcinogenic particulate emissions. Hydrogen fuel cells are expected to be more efficient and cleaner and can be more economical on a total cost of ownership basis than diesel generators. This deal demonstrates India’s long-term commitment to fuel-cells and builds on its recently announced deployment of hydrogen fuel cells on telecom towers.

Winand added, “Using our technology, India can leapfrog into an information-driven future without assuming the costs and experiencing the difficulties of first implementing a conventional energy grid. This deal sets a significant precedent for shaping India’s energy future.”