Boost from millions in funding: Five federal states rely on fuel cells for BOS digital radio

Boost from millions in funding: Five federal states rely on fuel cells for BOS digital radio


  • Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) funds 505 fuel cell systems with 5 million euros
  • Remote maintenance, uninterrupted and safe in the event of a crisis: critical infrastructures in the fire brigade, police and disaster control can be safeguarded by fuel cell technology
  • Environmentally-friendly fuel cell outperforms diesel in practice
  • Market-relevant phase starts after research and development

Berlin, November 2019 – A total of 505 radio masts in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Brandenburg, Hesse and Saxony will be equipped with fuel cell technology. Now that the tenders have been successfully completed and the funding has been approved by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), implementation is starting on site. “The research and development projects have been successful – now the market-relevant phase of fuel cell technology as a substitute power supply begins”, explains Dr. Henrik Colell, spokesman of the fuel cell network Clean Power Net (CPN).

Today digital radio, tomorrow data centres: radiating effects on other areas of application

According to Colell, the expansion of BOS digital radio is an important milestone for the entire industry. “In addition to applications in BOS and telecommunications, fuel cells are already being used in small quantities in traffic control systems, in data centres or in industrial plants. Here, too, funding can make an important step towards increasing unit numbers.” According to Colell, the success in digital government radio proves how important financial support for market activation will remain in the future. “Support programmes are the preliminary stage to market ramp-up. On the one hand, they support technically mature products that are not yet fully competitive in economic terms. On the other hand, they secure Germany’s place in the international competition for this technology of the future.”

Specifically, 200 digital radio systems will be equipped with fuel cell technology in Baden-Württemberg, 180 in Bavaria, 60 in Hesse, 56 in Brandenburg and nine in Saxony. The radio systems, which rely on fuel cells instead of diesel generators in the event of a power failure, can provide uninterrupted power for up to 72 hours in the event of a power failure and can be maintained remotely.

Environmentally friendly: No CO2 emission

With a view to the climate debate, the fuel cell has several convincing advantages over conventional solutions with diesel generators, according to Clean Power Net. Neither CO2 nor particle emissions are produced. In addition, degradation does not occur in the fuel. This means that while diesel clumps when it stands for a long time and has to be completely replaced every two years and disposed of as hazardous waste, hydrogen is more storable. Another advantage is that fuel cell technology does not cause any noise emissions and can therefore also be used in residential areas.

Call for more support and long-term investment decisions

The basis for the latest 5 million euro support is a funding call from the previous year via the Market Activation Guideline within the framework of the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Programme (NIP II). Against the background of the successful market activation in digital public authority radio, the CPN is seeking a further call for funding from the BMVI for 2020.

In addition, industry representatives are calling for a more long-term view when making investment decisions. Procurement decisions are currently too often based on a short-term view. Instead of an investment cost calculation, a total cost consideration over the life of the plant should be used more often. This is where the fuel cell usually scores over the diesel generator. In addition, the replacement power supply must be planned and designed more specifically to meet demand. Many systems are often oversized and not designed according to the actual power requirements, resulting in unnecessary additional costs. And: fuel cell systems can be planned modularly and expanded at a later date.

About Clean Power Net

Clean Power Net (CPN) was founded in 2010 by 12 entrepreneurs to promote the use of fuel cell technology in a concerted and sustainable manner. The initiator of the network is NOW GmbH National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. Today, the CPN has 21 partners and is funded as an innovation cluster by the BMVI with funds from NIP II.


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