Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom Harness Wind-Solar Energy for 5G Mobile Masts in Germany

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The successful trial of the 5G-enabled network by Deutsche Telekom (CSP) could open the door to major improvements in sustainable mobile site operations using renewable energy. Ericsson and DT have transformed a live radio station using a management system that optimizes power supply and demand while efficiently harnessing solar and wind energy.

Ericsson-DT is collaborating to find and validate energy efficiency solutions that reduce energy costs and optimize energy consumption.

Since the initiative started more than a year back, the site in Dittenheim (Bavarian municipality), has been partially powered by solar energy. The solar panels cover 12 square meters of the site. Ericsson and DT have now added a wind turbine to the site, which can provide up to five kilowatts more power as a second source of renewable energy.

The simultaneous integration of both renewable energy sources, made possible by Ericsson Power System (a brand new Ericsson energy management software), allows the site to theoretically operate on its own without the need for a cable connection to the electric power grid. The solution can power the site as long as the weather permits it.

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Ericsson Power System is responsible for voltage conversion and maximum power points tracking (MPPT). The management system that controls Radio Access Network (RAN) integrates the control of both the power sources and batteries. This system allows for easy integration of the new management system into existing sites.

In current systems, batteries are used as storage in case of power outages. The management system can now use the batteries to store energy in a dynamic way with new Ericsson software.

Initial tests revealed that windy days could generate more energy than site operations used. There are many functions that can be used to control the energy sources, including hazard prevention and automation. In the event of a malfunction, the turbine can be deactivated automatically to stop uncontrolled operation.

Next phase of the project will include the development of new functions to optimize the use of stored energy and maximize storage capacity. The integration of fuel cells and other energy sources will soon replace diesel generators. These are kept in reserve for emergency situations.

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Leif Heitzer is SVP Technology Guidance and Economics for Deutsche Telekom. He states: “Ensuring an integrated managed of clean, efficient and reliable energy sources and usage is key to sustainable mobile site operations.” We work with innovative partners to explore how intelligent solutions and capabilities can be applied to optimize energy consumption at mobile sites.

Heather Johnson, Ericsson’s Vice President for Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility, states: “At Ericsson we are committed to working alongside our customers to reduce their carbon emissions. This partnership is an excellent example of how we are achieving this goal through our most energy efficient equipment. It can also be run entirely on renewable energy”.

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