Hybrid power solutions for wireless base stations

Leonard_Walker_Strategic_Marketing_Director_AEG_Power_SolutionsLeonard Walker, Strategic Marketing Director, AEG Power SolutionsCommunications Service Providers (CSPs) continue to expand their network coverage into rural and remote areas, deploying base stations lacking access to reliable electrical grid power.

These base station sites are traditionally powered by diesel generators, fuelled by oil. It is estimated that more than 480,000 diesel-powered base stations operate around the world today (ABI Research 2009, Pike Research 2010 and AEGPS analysis), with the number expected still to grow significantly over the coming years. These generators operate inefficiently and emit considerable quantities of CO2. Diesel fuel consumption and generator management presents significant OPEX challenges to network operators. These factors can make the difference between profit and loss in low ARPU markets.
As the figure below shows, over the last 20 years, the compound rate of growth in the world oil price has been running at 7.3% annually (IEA World Energy Statistics, 2010). With growing concern over the security of the world’s energy supplies and recognition that the world’s fossil fuel resources are being rapidly depleted, there seems little prospect that this price rise trend will moderate in the near future so, in the next 5 years, a further 50% rise in the price of oil may be anticipated.

Regions with reliable electricity grid power fare no better because the world’s grid electricity is predominantly derived from fossil fuels. World coal and gas prices have followed the same trajectory as that of oil, so it is no surprise that grid electricity prices are following the same upward trend as oil.

Oil_price_CAGR

With network expansion in emerging markets and the commercial deployment of 4G-LTE imminent, and fast broadband becoming almost ubiquitous with smart phones and new applications fuelling a voracious appetite for data, there is a perfect storm; rising traffic volumes, falling ARPU, rising energy costs and global climate concern. Thus, OPEX and CO2 emissions are now key drivers for CSPs. Recognition of these market forces led AEG Power Solutions (AEGPS) to develop its ecopx range of hybrid power solutions to support CSPs in their need for viable, cost-effective, greener power solutions.

AEGPS applied its 60 year expertise of producing reliable, high availability power solutions for the telecommunications industry, to bring the same resilient and cost-effective architecture to renewable energy, off-grid/poor grid applications. AEGPS’ ecopx solution is an innovative and “green” solution, combining renewable solar or wind energy with battery storage, and with additional back up being provided by stand-by diesel generator or poor grid depending on the resources available, to reduce dramatically the operational costs of powering BTS sites.

The key to achieving low OPEX and fast ROI is to combine efficient and high reliability power electronics with smart management.
At the heart of AEGPS’ system are a unique architecture and a powerful, ecopx controller which manages site power from end-to-end: power generation, energy storage, monitoring and remote management.

The controller manages any combination of solar, wind, DG and grid power sources. Uniquely, the controller dynamically manages redundancy according to the energy source, even for solar PV, so that all PV strings remain productive in the event of a power converter failure.
On the PV side, a distributed MPPT architecture is used to harvest up to 25% more energy compared with a centralised MPPT architecture.
Smart battery management extends battery life by optimising the battery charge rate according to discharge history, and providing periodic SOC restoration to maintain the battery in peak condition. This management regime extends battery life by up to 25%, as well as extending maintenance intervals.
The DG is intelligently managed in a cycling mode to run at optimum efficiency with drastically reduced fuel consumption, longer maintenance intervals and longer service life.
The controller has advanced data logging capabilities, including logging of generated power, consumed power and DG run hours, and can store one year’s worth of data for remote downloading for statistical analysis for OSS purposes. Depending on the system configuration, this can be over TCP/IP or GSM / GPRS connections.
AEGPS’ ecopx solution provides the capability for a seamless migration path, from cycling generators through to pure renewable applications, so that the power system can adapt to the changing needs of the base station. The solution is highly scalable and standardised to be able to work for single operators or in site sharing environments.

The result is an innovative, highly-reliable solution that optimizes the entire energy system for a fast ROI, low OPEX, a low carbon footprint to support Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, and is complemented by enhanced remote management for operator’s NOC or OSS.

Summary:
AEG Power Solution’s ecopx is an integrated, flexible hybrid energy solution which brings real benefits for CSPs in both off-grid and grid-connected applications. Being an integrated solution, it is easy to deploy, install and commission. Its scalable architecture means it can adapt to CSP’s needs as their business changes. It can play a pivotal role for CSPs in the new market dynamics of exploding subscriber demand and falling revenues. 

For more information log on to www.aegps.com or contact Antonio Veiga: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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