Afrox, a member ofAfrox, a member of gases and engineering company The Linde group, has forged a partnership with Diverse Energy - a UK-based technology company - that will herald a new era in green continuous off-grid power supply for remote telecommunications towers in Africa.
This innovative solution harnesses anhydrous ammonia to power cell phone towers that have no access to main-grid electricity. The heart of the solution is Diverse Energy's PowerCube®, a self-contained unit that utilises the ammonia fuel provided by Afrox and Linde to generate power for the telecom sites.
Mobile phone coverage in remote areas is very sporadic and limited throughout Africa due to lack of grid power. Telecommunications companies are forced to harness power from diesel generators and use large lead-acid batteries, which are costly and associated with environmentally damaging emissions.
"We believe the new strategic partnership we've embarked on with Diverse Energy provides the telecommunications companies a better alternative to diesel both in Africa and worldwide," says Jaco Coetzee, Afrox Business Development Manager. "Stepping into the breach as a primary continuous power supply, the PowerCube® effectively replaces diesel generators and chemical storage batteries on telecom sites, delivering higher efficiencies, lower maintenance costs, emissions and a reduction in total operating expenses as high as 30%. This is the first time that a green solution has been created for continuous power supply for telecom towers and other distributed power needs.
Diverse Energy’s CEO, Dirk Smet, feels equally enthusiastic about the Afrox-Linde-Diverse Energy partnership: “It provides mobile network operators with a unique and total solution that can change the way power is supplied in the future. This partnership combines cutting-edge technology of Diverse Energy with world-class engineering capabilities and comprehensive corporate footprint that Afrox and Linde provide throughout the world.”
Smet continues: "Technically, the PowerCube® technology uses ammonia, an affordable non-carbon based fuel with high power density, offering a potential 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel generators, together with the elimination of noise and local pollution. Commercially, Afrox and Linde provide the telecom industry the largest and safest distribution network, with presence in over 20 African countries and throughout the world. So there was a natural synergy for this strategic partnership to evolve”,
Millions of tons of ammonia are produced worldwide every year and distributed to remote parts of the world for fertiliser, mining and refrigeration applications.
“While telecom tower operators are very keen to adopt green alternatives to diesel everywhere in the world, network uptime and coverage are their key priorities. What makes the continuous power solution from Afrox-Diverse unique is that the two strategic partners take full responsibility for the total solution around power supply – from reliability of the PowerCube®, to fuel supply and local field support in remote areas. This frees telecom companies to focus on network expansion and providing consumers with more services” adds Coetzee.
It has been estimated that 130 000 remote area towers are being installed each year globally at a growing rate of more than 6%. This US$9.2-billion market is concentrated in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South America.
In its recent study, "Africa Connected, A Telecommunications Growth Story", Ernst & Young said the telecommunications market in Africa is becoming increasingly competitive and that as competition increased, operational efficiency will take on greater importance for telecommunications operators.
Afrox, a member of The Linde Group, is the largest gases and welding products supplier in South Africa and one of the country's most trusted brands, with products and services that form part of most manufacturing, industrial and construction processes. With its African operations, Afrox is the largest gases and welding company in sub-Saharan Africa.
Diverse Energy develops innovative continuous off-grid power solutions based on industrial gases to generate clean power using fuel cell technology. The Diverse Energy solution has received many awards and endorsements from the Green Energy Initiative Groups and OEM suppliers. Current focus is to drive field trials with major telecommunication operators in Africa where the Diverse Energy solution is intended to replace the need for diesel generated power.
The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 49 100 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2010 financial year, it achieved sales of 12 868 billion euro. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards sustainable earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of their business areas, regions and locations across the globe. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.