A successful trial on the 5G-enabled network of German communications service provider (CSP) Deutsche Telekom (DT) could pave the way for major advances in the sustainable operation of mobile sites through the use of renewable energy. Joint initiative by Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and DT transformed a live radio site using a management solution to efficiently harness solar and wind power while optimizing electricity supply and demand .
One of the main objectives of the Ericsson-DT partnership is to identify and validate energy efficiency and energy cost reduction solutions based on the optimization of energy consumption and the control and increased use of renewable energy sources.
The site – in the Bavarian municipality of Dittenheim, about 120 km north of Munich – has been partly powered by solar panels since the initiative began more than a year ago. The site currently has 12 m² of solar modules. Now experts from Ericsson and DT have added a wind turbine, capable of providing up to five kilowatts of additional power, as a second source of renewable energy.
The resulting simultaneous integration of the two renewable energy sources – made possible by the Ericsson Power System (a new energy management system from Ericsson) – means that the site can theoretically be operated autonomously without use its cable connection to the electrical network. . As long as weather conditions favor the use of renewable capacities, the solution can make a major contribution to supplying the site.
The Ericsson power system provides the necessary voltage conversion and maximum power point tracking (MPPT). Joint control of both power sources and batteries is integrated into the same management system that controls the Radio Access Network (RAN). This unique management system will allow quick and easy integration into existing sites in the future.
The batteries installed in current systems serve as storage in the event of a power outage. New Ericsson software and control mechanisms allow the management system to use batteries as dynamic energy storage units to optimize the use of generated energy.
Early tests showed that on windy days, more renewable energy could be generated than was consumed by site operations. Control of energy sources includes various functions for risk prevention as well as automation. For example, in the event of a malfunction, the wind turbine can be automatically deactivated to prevent uncontrolled operation.
The next phase of the project will see the development of additional functions for efficient use of generated energy and storage capacities. In the near future, the integration of additional power sources such as fuel cells will replace the need for diesel generators, which are currently kept in reserve for emergencies.
Leif Heitzer, SVP Technology Guidance and Economics at Deutsche Telekom, says: “Ensuring integrated management of clean, efficient and reliable energy sources and usage is essential for sustainable operations of mobile sites. Together with innovative partners, we explore in trials how we can apply smart solutions and capabilities to optimize power consumption and control at mobile sites. »
Heather Johnson, vice president of sustainability and corporate responsibility at Ericsson, said: “At Ericsson, we are committed to working with our customers to help them reduce their carbon emissions. This partnership is a great example of how we achieve this through our best in class energy efficient equipment, which can run entirely on renewable energy.