Telstra to back up base stations with fuel cells

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Telstra to back up base stations with fuel cells
A fuel cell attached to a Telstra base station site. (Photo credit: Telstra)

New power source added to design standards.

Telstra will deploy fuel cells as an alternative to back-up battery arrays at mobile base stations and small telephone exchanges.

The carrier's director of asset and facilities management, John Romano, said today Telstra has included fuel cell technology as the standard back-up power source for sites that consume less than 5 kiloWatts an hour.

The telco has spent the past several months testing the efficacy of fuel cells at several base stations, including one in Tasmania where mains power to the site was recently cut off by a lightning strike.

"[The fuel cell] meant that we were able to keep the base station running for over two days – more than six times longer than a battery-based back-up system [would have allowed]," Romano said.

"This was particularly advantageous to us as the AC rectifier [damaged by the lightning strike] couldn't be fixed straight away and parts had to be brought in from another location."

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