Cleantech Market Intelligence
Telecom Companies Discover Energy Storage
Emerson Network Power, the telecommunications arm of the technology and engineering giant Emerson, has entered into a partnership with Redflow to bring Redflow’s zinc bromine flow batteries to new markets.
Energy storage technology ‑ more specifically, advanced energy storage technology ‑ is frequently slammed for being too expensive, particularly compared to its cheaper cousin, lead acid batteries. Emerson Network Power believes it can make a business case for the Redflow technology, offering telcos better performance and a lower total cost of ownership. Specifically, these batteries will be combined with solar PV, a generator, or a weak local grid, and will provide power to either mobile base stations that are in remote locations or connected to weak grids with regular blackouts (see Navigant Research’s report, Off-Grid Power for Mobile Base Stations. Redflow’s zinc bromine modules (ZBMs) will be used for primary power every day.
The primary benefit of advanced energy storage for telcos is lower diesel fuel consumption. Diesel is expensive to buy, pricey to deliver to remote locations, and frequently the object of theft. In addition, diesel generators are less efficient the more they are cycled up and down – using more fuel and driving up operating costs.
In this case, the technology is an especially good fit for the application. The Redflow modules operate at up to 50 degrees Celsius (which means there’s less need for an air conditioned housing), and the batteries, made largely of plastic, will be easy to recycle.
This isn’t the first time this argument for advanced energy storage for mobile base stations has come up, but it’s taken a less expensive, more robust system to make an integrator stand up and take notice.