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UN approves African alternative energy solution

by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – THE United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has endorsed an African innovative solution for promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

South African firm, NEC XON, developed the Hybrid Storage Solution (HSS), an alternative energy solution for mobile networks.

It uses advanced control and monitoring, integrated with the latest polarium lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technologies to reduce lifecycle costing and improve quality of service for better profit margins for telecoms operators.

NEC XON’s outdoor HSS is used in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.

UNIDO’s Sustainable Technology Promotion Platform evaluation committee approved the solution, which serves the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 8 and 9.

“Our hybrid system, which has been used in several African countries since 2018, can be used in combination with power grids, even where the grid is unstable with frequent outages,” explained Magnus Coetzee, Executive: Infrastructure Solutions at NEC XON.

HSS is an outdoor, cabinet solution with anti-theft and remote monitoring and control.

It cuts diesel consumption by up to 80 percent and diesel run-time by up to 90 percent in live use.

When grid power fails, the system automatically switches to storage batteries and only starts up the generator if the storage batteries are depleted.

It has been established that most mobile carrier base stations are at off-grid locations, which makes reliability a challenge.

Mobile carrier networks have typically used diesel generators to augment unreliable grid power or where no power is available.

However, theft of the fuel and the generators, the cost to run and maintain them, and the logistics of reaching them are significant and costly challenges. The World Bank reports that 21 of the 25 least-connected countries are in Africa.

The continent has among the fastest growing internet growths worldwide.

Coetzee said ICT offered significant opportunity to improve people’s lives.

“For more than 650 million rural Africans, access to dependable energy for reliable communications is the first critical step to real transformation,” he concluded.

– CAJ News

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