Vodafone, in collaboration with Vodacom, Vantage Towers and Tomorrow Street, has launched a global competition inviting organisations to submit innovative solutions to the challenge of generating renewable power directly at mobile phone sites.
The ‘Renewable Power Challenge’ seeks new or better ways of powering sites in rural or remote areas without access to power grids, or where there are frequent power outages, while avoiding the use of fossil fuels on-site. Organisations looking to apply should register for an account and submit their proposal through the Vodacom.
Shortlisted companies will have the opportunity to showcase their solution to an audience of more than 4,000 technology companies at ARCH Summit in October, the flagship event of Tomorrow Street, a Vodafone and Luxembourg joint venture that helps scale technology start-ups. Successful finalists will be invited to move towards a Proof of Concept (PoC) stage at sites within a Vodafone Group entity, including Vodacom Group markets in Africa and Vantage Towers sites in Europe.
Vodafone has been working with external companies and suppliers to develop and test solutions based on solar, wind, fuel cell or micro-turbine technologies that could generate power for a mobile site on location. For example, earlier in June Vodafone switched on the UK’s first ‘self-powering’ mobile site, which incorporates the latest wind turbine technology, solar panels and on-site battery storage. The trial is being delivered in partnership with wind turbine technology specialists Crossflow Energy, and mobile infrastructure services company Cornerstone.
For the Renewable Power Challenge, Vodafone is seeking submissions across two categories: Technology Solutions, which could cover power generation technologies, alternative fuels, innovative storage solutions; and Partnership Models, which could cover organisations that build and operate community power systems based on renewable energy.
Vodafone’s goal is to develop the solutions in collaboration with partners so that they can be deployed across a significate share of its more than 160,000 mobile sites in Europe and Africa. More innovation is needed to provide reliable, climate-friendly and cost-effective solutions to help achieve that goal.