Sprint aims to add more backup power at cell phone sites using hydrogen fuel cells
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Sprint $7.3 million (£4.9m) in funding for fuel cell technology. The grant funding will be used to expand the number of Sprint mobile sites that rely on hydrogen fuel cells for backup power.
The April 17 funding was the largest single grant awarded by the Department of Energy under a $41.9 million (£28.6) round of funding authorised by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
According to Sprint, the grant will allow for an additional 72 hours of network resiliency during emergencies and natural disasters. Currently, most deployed hydrogen fuel cells are paired with low-pressure hydrogen tanks providing approximately 15 hours of backup power before needing refueling.
Hydrogen fuel cells provide a cleaner alternative to diesel-powered backup generators that have been utilised in the past. Sprint will work with hydrogen fuel cell manufacturers, tank providers and hydrogen suppliers as part of the grant.
“Since 2005 Sprint has been a leader in the deployment of fuel cell technology,” Bob Azzi, senior vice president of network at Sprint, said in a statement. “We have deployed more than 250 hydrogen fuel cells in our network, have been awarded a total of three Department of Energy grants to deploy new hydrogen fuel cell technologies and awarded 12 patents from the U.S. Patent Office that include hydrogen fuel cells.”