A World Without Fossil Fuels Is Still Far From Perfect

The hunger for fossil fuel is not what it once was. The urgent need for a sustainable solution to help limit environmental damage has showcased that fossil fuels are not the only way to go. Fuel alternatives started becoming mainstream, making life easier for companies in various sectors by helping them reduce costs and become more efficient. Within the last decade, the telecom sector embraced fuel alternatives to power their equipment and the optimal operation. 

Why Alternative Fuels and the Idea of Fuel Flexibility 

Although practical and affordable, liquid fossil fuels are not the only ones that engines can consume. In reality, alternative fuels have been on the market for as long as internal combustion vehicles have existed. For instance, around the 1940s, companies extensively used a fuel known as wood gas in vehicles. This made it possible to conserve fuel. The imperfect combustion of wood chips resulted in the production of wood gas. The procedure would occur in a sizable kettle-like container. The kettle could be towed behind a car on a trailer and connected to the motor that way.

Wood gas is no longer widely used in transportation, but various alternative fuels are accessible, and more are being developed. Some are made from fossil fuels, like compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG—a mixture of propane and butane). Others, like biodiesel, ethanol, renewable diesel, and biogas, are made from organic refuse or energy crops. For more information, you can look up what low-carbon energies are. 

Fuel flexibility is also a choice for equipment owners who prefer CNG or LPG instead of gasoline. Both outcomes are possible by installing a different fuel system and a fresh set of engine fuel injectors. Thus, owners of dual-fuel vehicles can drive on CNG and then switch to gasoline if there isn’t a nearby CNG fueling site when the gaseous fuel runs out.

Why Telcos Should Remain Green

The environment and business profits can benefit from operators’ energy expenses being reduced by 15 to 20 percent over a year through organizational changes and efficiency measures. Energy costs are already high for telecom operators around the globe, accounting for an average of 5% of operating costs. Energy costs can make up as much as 7% of overall expenses in emerging markets where operators frequently rely on a generator set to provide electricity. Prices will continue to rise, further putting pressure on margins when the sector is already struggling to bear additional debt. Adopting a fuel alternative can relieve telcos from this pressure since it is cheaper to implement than fossil fuel.

The exponential increase in traffic brought on by new 5G services is primarily to blame for this increasing energy challenge. Although the 5G-new-radio standard uses less energy per gigabyte than the 4G standards, the number of mobile sites required by the proposed 5G use cases and new spectrum bands will far exceed any possible energy savings. Industry predictions state that each 5G site will require two to three times more power than a 4G-equivalent location. Additionally, data centers will be needed as more services are offered at the periphery. Our estimates show that these already represent 5 to 10% of a telecom operator’s energy expenses.

Finally, the case for telcos to adopt greener alternatives goes beyond cost saving only. There are several additional benefits from using renewable energy sources beyond expense savings. With their end users, telecom businesses interact frequently and closely. They are in a great situation to strengthen their brand by utilizing renewable energy. Energy branding will become more significant. To improve the value proposition for renewables, independent power producers who sell electricity to telecom firms may need to consider how to brand their energy.

Fuel Alternative Is Perfect for Remote Areas Telecom

Most of the biggest markets for this service are located in regions with poor or no connection to the power grid. Remote telco towers require electricity, and while expanding the grid may seem like a good idea, the cost is typically too high. And it’s an especially bad investment in areas with expensive or unreliable grid power.

The response? Alternative energy sources. Historically, telcos have run their transmission towers on diesel engines. There are over a million telecom antennas in off-grid and poor-grid areas. Additionally, nearly 40 million tons of CO2 are emitted yearly from more than 90% of those structures that run on diesel fuel.

Using diesel is not only costly, but it is also harmful to the environment. Between 30% and 40% of the distant tower and network expenses are diesel-related. This covers the price of the diesel itself, the expense of shipping it to remote locations, and the cost of recouping diesel theft. Because of this, telcos are increasingly relying on hybrid and renewable energy options, which improve uptime and cut energy expenses. These systems typically combine energy storage batteries with local solar energy to maintain the tower’s operational 24/7.

Wrap Up

A world without fossil fuels is desirable, but it is not perfect. Just because you won a battle, it does not mean the war is over, far from it. We have a long way ahead of us to win the war against pollution and environmental damage. A world without fossil fuels does not mean a market with no competition.

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