Give credit to the Scandinavians. Instead of a problem they find a solution, and most time it is blowing at them straight in the face. Wind power seems to be the name of the game, and along with solar power is a renewable energy that is ideal for remote solutions for powering mobile base stations.
Earlier this year Sweden-based Flexenclosure was working on a new solution for powering remote transmitters. The concept was designed for remote parts of Africa that would be off the typical power grid, and would be an alternative solution to the typical diesel-powered generators. Now Ericsson has unveiled its own wind-powered concept with the Tower Tube.
Ericsson’s wind-powered Tower Tube concept uses wind power to enable low-cost mobile communications, with only limited access to traditional electricity grids. The energy-optimized radio base station site concept is part of a research project that has been developed with Vertical Wind AB and Uppsala University in Sweden. The wind-powered Tower Tube takes the energy-lean design of Ericsson’s original concept a step further by employing renewable energy, namely wind power that is captured by a four-blade turbine with five-meter blades vertically attached to the tower. These blades work silently, and more importantly minimize the load on the tower during operations. When in use the wind power can provide power for the tower, and because the turbines are within the structure this means less complaints from those that who see giant windmills as unsightly.
Of course you still have the large concrete tower, but if you want to get your mobile phone service you’ll have to put up with a few towers. But Ericsson has already worked to make the Tower Tube more aesthetically pleasing – while also trying to limit the environmental footprint when compared to traditional steel towers.
The Ericsson Tower Tube further needs no feeders or cooling systems and, according to the company, operates on about 40 percent less power consumption than traditional base station sites. “Combining wind power with Ericsson’s Tower Tube brings further opportunities to support mobile communication in both urban and remote areas with no or limited access to the electricity grid. ” says Ulf Ewaldsson, Vice President and Head of Product Area Radio at Ericsson. “Ericsson’s wind-powered Tower Tube research initiative reflects our ambition to use our technical leadership to drive sustainable, telecom expansion and deliver communication for all.”
At least when it comes to powering mobile base stations, maybe it isn’t so hard to be green after all.