Sunday 26 June 2022

Vodafone UK Switches-on First Live 'Self-Powering' Mobile Phone Mast

In a press release last year, Vodafone UK had announced that they have developed self-powered mobile towers and will deploy them across the UK, supporting the company’s target of achieving net zero for its UK operations by 2027. 

Vodafone and Crossflow Energy have been collaborating over the last couple of years on the development of Crossflow Energy’s innovative wind turbine technology, combined with the latest in solar and battery technologies, to create a self-powered mobile network tower. In addition, Vodafone's network partner, Cornerstone, had signed up to run a proof of concept to install Crossflow Turbine technology on rural mobile sites.

These ground-breaking Eco-Towers are expected to enable the deployment of new mobile sites in the most remote locations, without the major challenge and cost of connecting to the electricity grid.

In a press release earlier this month, Vodafone announced that it has switched on the the first live wind- and solar-powered mobile phone mast in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The mast will provide 4G coverage to the community of Eglwyswrw. The PR further says:

The specially designed mast, which potentially removes the need for a connection to the national electricity grid, could provide connectivity to ‘not-spots’ in the UK’s most remote and inaccessible locations – helping the industry achieve 95% of UK landmass coverage by 20253. It will also help Vodafone reduce carbon emissions and support its target of reaching net zero UK operations by 2027.

The ‘self-powering’ mast incorporates a unique Crossflow Energy wind turbine that can generate power even in light winds. The mast can be installed without the need to dig trenches and lay electricity cables, making it faster and easier to install and reducing the impact on the local environment.

It is also extremely quiet, making it viable for sensitive sites such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It can also be ‘filtered out’ as a solid object by radar, birds and bats, so it is easily avoided, making it less harmful to wildlife.

The trial, in partnership with wind turbine technology specialists Crossflow Energy and mobile infrastructure partner Cornerstone, is at Home Farm in the village of Eglwyswrw. It will run for two years and data gathered will help Vodafone optimise the technology and determine which sites are most suitable for ‘self-powering’ masts.

Bringing mobile and internet services to rural communities helps boost the local economy, tackle isolation and close the rural digital divide. To date, building masts in coverage ‘not spots’ without an existing electricity connection has been a significant financial and logistical challenge.

The following video has also been shared:

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