Suitable for both on and off grid sites, our technology can help the telecoms sector in many ways, extending coverage into remote areas, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and helping achieve network decarbonisation and corporate Net Zero commitments.
Through us, the complementary generation of wind and solar power can now enable clean powered mobile connectivity in rural communities, suburban settings, and urban hubs, with no impact on network performance.
The first telecoms solution we have brought to market is the Eco Tower.
The telecoms sector emitted 3mn tonnes of CO₂ in 2019 – a figure similar to the airline industry. Projections suggest that CO₂ emissions by the telecoms sector could reach 8mn tonnes by 2025. In a bid to tackle this, the GSMA announced a Net Zero carbon emissions target by 2050. The drive to Net Zero coupled with energy price volatility, rural network coverage and increased energy demand of networks presents a huge energy challenge for the sector.
Further to this, the telecoms industry still relies heavily on diesel generators or a connection to the electricity grid, to power masts and towers. This presents a real challenge in off-grid, remote locations where operators are under enormous pressure to provide access to reliable telecoms services. If access to the grid isn’t possible and diesel usage is to be minimised to meet environmental targets – how can this service be delivered?
To answer this challenge we’ve developed the Eco Tower, which is already being used by Vodafone.
The Eco Tower combines our unique wind turbine with telecoms equipment in a single self-powered mast. It means wind power can now be embedded in and make a real contribution to the power supply of telecoms equipment with no interference or impact on network performance. While the immediate application is in rural communities it can also be used on buildings and in urban settings where it can help telcos boost their use of renewables and reduce their dependency on both diesel and the national grid.
The tower is reliable and easy to install, and specifically addresses the concerns most commonly associated with wind power, including network interference, performance, maintenance, reliability and planning permission concerns. The future-proofed tower has variable height and loading options to accommodate the expect growth in tower sharing by multiple operators. It can also be installed without the need to dig trenches and lay electricity cables.
It offers enhanced renewable contributions when combined with solar and battery systems, reducing carbon emissions by up to 90% and delivering significantly lower TCO costs to diesel and diesel/solar/battery solutions; particularly in low solar irradiation or high diesel price environments.
The first telecoms company to use the Eco Tower is Vodafone, where we are supporting its target of achieving net zero in the UK by 2027.
This Proof of Concept project has already demonstrated the reliability of the turbine and the integrated energy system, proven co-hosting the turbine on a single Telecom Tower has no impact on Network Performance, and delivered strong performance, especially at higher wind speeds.
Further work is ongoing as part of this project to optimise performance and exploit the lessons learnt prior to deploying in remote off grid locations.
Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer and Development Director at Vodafone, said: “Connectivity is vital to everyone, no matter where you live. Working with Crossflow to develop our self-powering mobile site will allow us to deliver the benefits of digital to parts of the country in the most environmentally friendly way.”