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Solar and wind solutions, micro fuel cells as energy alternatives

April 25, 2007

Precisely! That’s the way the future of energy would likely be, should the industry manage to pull it off. These folks are really working hard to develop alternative energy sources to power a whole lot of equipment and devices.

The other day, we were discussing energy, when the subject of fuel cells cropped up. With electronics items and other equipment constantly undergoing design changes, thereby putting even more demand on battery power. Several alternative energy solutions are constantly being developed.

In fact, Motorola reports to have successfully conducted a year-long wind- and solar-powered cell site at its Swindon R&D facility in the UK. The trial concluded that an optimized solar and wind solution can generate enough power to drive a mid-sized base station (BTS) plus ancillaries. The next step would be a commercial customer trial using a six-carrier BTS cell site, being implemented in the first half of 2007.

I believe, nearly all mobile phone manufacturers, including Motorola, are also developing solar-powered handsets.

Coming back to power, the existing battery chemistries are constantly challenged to maintain performance levels or maybe, extend beyong the existing levels. While solar and wind solutions are among the options, fuel cells and even micro fuel cells are also in the fray.

Now, Frost & Sullivan’s report titled World Micro Fuel Cell Market for Industrial Portable Devices, finds that the market is likely to produce 75 million units by 2013, demonstrating a high market growth rate due to a ramp-up in commercialization. The micro fuel cell market for industrial portable devices has gained a boost with the significant growth of the heavy-duty device markets.

The report says that fuel cells for such devices should be able to operate safely for long periods under inclement weather and dusty conditions. They must be resistant to high shock and vibration, while surviving drops on hard surfaces as well.

The market is addressing the fuel cell standard concern by forming groups within prominent international standards organizations such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), dealing with electrical, electronic and related technologies.

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