Ericsson Unveils Wind-Powered Cell Tower

Telecommunications provider Ericsson (s ERIC) is putting some wind power into its network with a new radio communications tower unveiled today. The Swedish telecom partnered with turbine maker Vertical Wind AB and Uppsala University to incorporate a vertical-axis wind turbine into the tower that houses radio base stations and antennas. The tower is now undergoing trials to see if the design will enable low-cost mobile communications to spread throughout remote regions with minimal environmental impact.

The rig is a conceptual riff on Ericsson’s energy-lean Tower Tube design. Ericsson claims it has greatly reduced the station’s power demand, eliminating the need for feeders and cooling systems and slashing energy consumption up to 40 percent. It’s not clear how much of the tower’s energy needs will be fulfilled by the turbine, but due to wind’s intermittent nature, it will likely need to be grid-connected to ensure a stable signal, although it could use an energy storage system in far-flung locals.

This project is part of Ericsson’s ongoing Communications Expander campaign, under which the company is boosting efficiency and using solar and wind energy to power its network whenever possible. Aside from the environmental benefits, Ericsson says this will cut operation costs and make telecommunications available to more people in more parts of the world. For the full story, head over to Earth2Tech.