Marriage of wind turbine and mobile mast

 

CINERGY.IE:CARLOW-firm Cinergy has married the similarities required for mobile phone and wind turbine sites to produce an energy-efficient system targeted at developing countries. The system reduces, and in some cases completely removes, mobile phone masts’ dependence on the local grid.

Colin Cunningham, a co-founder of Cinergy along with Kealan Delaney, says countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America are rapidly expanding their mobile networks, but in many cases the power grid does not stretch to the high ground best suited to mobile masts, resulting in the use of diesel generators.

“As people are becoming more energy and environmentally conscious, particularly with the rising price of oil, there is now a market for renewable- energy solutions,” says Cunningham. “Putting a wind turbine on top of a mobile phone mast structure seemed like a logical step given that both require very similar sites to work effectively.”

The company was spun out in summer of 2009 following almost two years of research by Delmec Engineering, which supplies infrastructural steelwork to the telecoms industry in Ireland.

Cinergy is currently testing its systems with a mobile phone operator in Ireland. “The testing will need another three months or so,” says Cunningham.

The company has a second product which has additional energy sources including solar panels, a bank of batteries, a generator and, where required, a link to the grid. “This would be for critical sites and the system will use the most efficient power source available.”

He says the potential market is massive, with countries such as India installing up to 100 new mobile masts a week. “In many countries the rollout of the network is happening quite fast and they are using generators, but operators are starting to look for renewable options. Our whole focus is on green energy solutions for those markets.”

The company has filed patent applications. “There are patents on the structural aspects of the design and in the next phase of products there will be intellectual property that we hope to commercialise.” The company currently employs five people.