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EXCERPTED FROM REUTERS: TOKYO, Sept 8 (Reuters) – As the world rushes to cut carbon emissions, hydrogen fuel cells may offer global telecoms an environmentally friendly solution to power energy-hungry remote networks, experts say.
Hydrogen fuel cells are gaining traction in Japan, where hydrogen enjoys strong government support, including subsidies for technology and infrastructure. GenCell (GNCL.TA), a small Israeli company that went public last year, is working with one of Japan’s major telecoms operators to test its G5 fuel cell unit, said CEO Rami Reshef. Reshef declined to identify the Japanese company.
“There’s no doubt fuel cells can work,” said Tomas Kåberger, affiliate professor at Chalmers University of Technology. “But where does the hydrogen come from? If transported, it would likely increase costs even compared to diesel.”
In Japan, hydrogen gas is usually produced by refineries and chemical makers as a byproduct or through steam or gas reforming processes and is transported in high-pressure tanks. Hydrogen has an energy density nearly three times that of diesel but costs about 1,100 yen ($10.00) per kilogram in Japan, while the fossil fuel costs an average of 133 yen a litre, or roughly 1 kilogram, for consumers. To produce the same amount of energy for the same cost, the price of hydrogen would have to fall to roughly twice that of diesel, according to U.S. government data.
Reshef said backup power from the G5 in Japan would cost about $0.83 per kilowatt hour (kWh) compared with $1.22/kWh for diesel generators, a calculation Benner said “seems reasonable”.
(The leading Japanese telecom) operators are building nearly 70,000 new base stations to handle the ever higher loads of data on mobile networks. More than 20,000 of those need continuous, reliable backup power, according to GenCell.
To read the full article by Aaron Sheldrick in Reuters, click here. Widely distributed, this article also appeared in some 120 news outlets worldwide, including Yahoo!, MSN News, US News & World Report, Nippon, Tokyo Daily News, Haaretz and many more.
In response to the article in Reuters, GenCell CEO Rami Reshef comments, “To overcome the high costs of hydrogen transport and storage, GenCell is launching its A5 off-grid alkaline fuel cell which generates hydrogen-on-demand from economical liquid ammonia. And to enable a total green energy solution from well to wheel, GenCell has partnered with Japanese conglomerate and materials science experts TDK to develop an innovative and low-cost approach to green ammonia synthesis that will provide green hydrogen on-site to power fuel cells wherever and whenever power is needed.