back to article DoCoMo tests blackout-proof hydrogen cell base station in Japan

Nokia Siemens Networks, working with Ballard Power Systems, has delivered a cellular base station with an integrated hydrogen cell that replaces battery- or generator-based backup during a power outage. The base station has been installed at DoCoMo's research site in Japan’s Yokosuka Research Park and can operate for 40 hours in …

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Mushroom

Cool...massive explosions!!!

Should look good on the TV when the hydrogen goes bang :-)

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WTF?

Lack of maintenance??

Won't the networks have to go around with a hydrogen tanker after every power cut, topping the hydrogen levels back up? I'm assuming that these sites won't have their own power stations to generate electricity to produce hydrogen from water in order to produce electricity.

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Thumb Up

Re: Lack of maintenance??

Well, as soon as the mains come back on you could use an electrolytic cell to replenish the hydrogen - might be a bit slow but if you assume that power-cuts are the exception rather than the rule, it ought to work...

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Mushroom

Re: Lack of maintenance??

Given no hydrogen storage is perfect and will leak hydrogen, these would be a small, constant drain on the mains supply when not in use.

I would have thought something that could use the mains Gas supply in a fuel cell or generator would be more effective. This is also much easier to store that Hydrogen.

Ok, you don't get your 'green' badge by throwing the word hydrogen about, but it would probably be a more effective backup system.

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Facepalm

Re: Lack of maintenance??

Good point...they are connected to the mains normally. Whoops. Of course relies upon supply of water, either collecting rainfall, which would be dependent on weather, or connected to mains water (which would probably be expensive given the locations of many cell towers).

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Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Lack of maintenance??

or a well (assuming a reasonably available aquifer).

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Re: Lack of maintenance??

In an emergency I'd rather have the water available to drink instead of being slowly pissed away due to hydrogen leaks.

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Silver badge

storing hydrogen somewhat tricky

If you keep it under pressure it has a nasty habit of embrittling whatever's being used to store it (including rubberised bladders, etc). if you don't, then you need LARGE storage tanks.

Hydrides are nice, but too expensive.

There are already fuel cells available which run on methane or propane, both of which are readily available and a small (or not so small) diesel donkey generator keep the batteries floating has been the standard backup method for critical services in Telecoms for decades.

Decent deep-discharge traction cells aren't cheap either (nor small), which is why a lot of cellular sites don't bother with them. Current thinking is that losing cell density is acceptable, but beancounters tend to take this model too far.

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Happy

Molten salt batteries

Molton salt batteries are the way to go. They're rechargeable and you can store them for a long time when they're cold with no self discharge and start them again with a detonator. Used in missile guidance systems, and more recently as the batteries for newer diesel electric locomotives with regenerative rather than just rheostatic braking.

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