Vattenfall commissions hydrogen gas-driven backup power for telecoms networks

Source: press release, 13 May 2022

Hydrogen gas-driven fuel cell system
Hydrogen gas-driven fuel cell system (photo: Vattenfall)

In collaboration with Ballard Power Systems and IT Norrbotten, Vattenfall has inaugurated Sweden’s first hydrogen gas-driven fuel cell plant for backup power for broadband networks. The plant, located in Överkalix, will ensure uninterrupted operation of broadband and digital communications in the event of prolonged power outages in cold climates.

“The new fuel cell plant is a further step forward in our ambition to work with partners to create fossil-free solutions that can simultaneously deliver back-up power for a significantly longer time than previous solutions. This means that telecoms operations can be maintained both sustainably and for a long time, even in areas that are difficult to access when there’s an outage in the regular power supply. We own the plant and are responsible for its functionality, which makes it easier for the customer to focus on their core business,” says Patrik Appelgren, Business Developer at Vattenfall Network Solutions.

The hydrogen gas-driven fuel cell system has been developed for the telecom and fibre industries to deliver the highest level of reliability for critical infrastructure. The system converts fossil-free hydrogen gas into electricity immediately when backup power is needed.

“Collaborating with Vattenfall has been a good opportunity for us to work together and create solutions where we’ve introduced new, sustainable technology to large-scale projects that benefit the critical infrastructure of society,” says John Skjoldrup Pedersen, Business Developer at Ballard.

IT Norrbotten is the client for the plant and the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) financed the plant in order to improve reliability in challenging climates, as part of its work to strengthen the robustness and durability of electronic communication networks.