Historically, telecommunication systems carrying utility mission-critical applications in their payload that cannot afford to fail have been powered at some voltage level by battery backed DC power systems. A typical configuration includes a lead acid battery tied to a float style charger or chargers powered by commercial AC power. On the DC side, the battery and charger output is typically tied to a panel where DC rated protection devices (fuses & breakers) feed power to end systems. The overall system(s) typically includes a number of alarm points at several levels.
Energy Storage Devices
Legacy DC energy storage systems include standard lead acid, lead calcium chemistries or gauze type semi-sealed valve regulated type lead batteries. For many applications, these older solutions are still appropriate. The near term future promises to add several additional and rather exotic storage systems. One of the most interesting technologies being developed is known by the term “Ultra-capacitor”. These devices store electrical energy at high voltage (3500 volts) and rely on electronic inverters to reduce the voltage to what ever level is required. The end result is a device that reportedly is able to deliver 10 times the power of lead acid batteries at approximately one half the cost. Size and weight are also drastically reduced relative to lead acid batteries of like capacity.
On the AC side, flywheel systems have been commercialized with a typical system able to store and deliver 25 KWH's worth of electrical energy. Manufacturers are reportedly designing typical systems for a 20 year totally maintenance-free operating life. Units are totally unaffected by low temperatures, can be installed in limited space environments and can handle extremely harsh environments in remote locations.
Energy Supply Systems
Beyond the obvious commercial AC power supply and DC float type battery chargers are a couple of exciting new technologies. As of Feb. 2007, a new world record for photovoltaic cell conversion efficiency has been verified by the Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, CO. Photovoltaic cells have now achieved 40.7% energy conversion efficiency. The manufacturer reports that the new cell designs are based on existing designs and, once qualified, will be produced in very high volumes at dramatically reduced costs. These new systems, coupled with advanced storage solutions, could be perfect for remote microwave system locations.
Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC’s) for telecommunications as well as other applications have been commercialized. Performance of an SOFC cell was recently and successfully tested by the Alaska Energy Development Technology Laboratory at an artic location. Powered by natural gas or propane, these units reportedly easily supply power to remote communication sites. They offer high reliability and high quality DC and AC power for site loads. Sizes range from 5 KW to hundreds of KW.
Contact Utility Telecom Consulting Group to discuss your telecom needs today. You may also fill out our inquiry form and we'll get back to you immediately.