Votes | Average: 0 out of 5 Votes | Average: 0 out of 5 Votes | Average: 0 out of 5 Votes | Average: 0 out of 5 Votes | Average: 0 out of 5 (Be the first to rate this article) Loading ... Loading ...

by Mike Zazaian October 11, 2006 - 4:44pm, No Comments

Ericsson to Power African Phone Networks With Pumpkin Oil

In the effort to reduce the usage of Diesel fuels to produce electricity, Swedish telecom Ericsson and South African cell phone operator MTN well begin to use pumpkin oil and other biofuels to power cellular networks in Nigeria.

As a number of cellular networks are located in rural areas, most networks are produced generators that burn diesel and other fossil fuels. Currently 80 percent of the operating costs for such rural networks come from the need to constantly replenish the fuels. By switching over to generators that burn biofuels Ericsson and MTN would not only be preserving the environment, but would cut costs by reducing the need to transport fuels over long distances.

As the palm, groundnut, pumpkin seeds and jatropha crops that would be used to produce the fuel can be grown near the sites at which they’ll be used, the biofuel initiative would also serve to stimulate local economies by creating jobs for local farmers. Said Karel Pienaar, chief technology officer at MTN:

The early adoption of biofuel-powered mobile networks would place Africa at the forefront of a new wave of innovation. Ericsson has been working on this for a while, and with their significant market share the entire market will move with them.

In addition to Nigeria, Ericsson and MTN will seek to expand such clean-fuel technologies to other countries in which they operate. We’re planning to replicate this in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. India and Bangladesh have also expressed interest, said Ben Soppitt, program manager of emerging markets for the GSMA, the global trade association for mobile operators. With MTN’s operations in over 21 countries across Africa and the Middle East, and Ericsson’s 30 percent of the mobile phone market share, the two companies are in a strong position to the mobile communications industry forward as one of the leaders in biofuel.

The companies are also investigating solar and wind energy alternatives to power the base stations. Perhaps the companies would be interested in the KiteGen kite-driven generator from Sequoia Automation that Italy is seeking to employ as early as 2010.

[via cnet]