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Saft’s specialised Sunica Plus batteries will provide the energy storage at the centre of Eltek Valere’s hybrid telecom power systems being rolled out to 80 mobile telecom sites across Nigeria.

These co-location sites are being provided for Nigeria’s wireless operators on a fully managed leased basis, and quality of service is vital in this competitive market.

The Eltek Valere and Saft hybrid power systems will therefore play an important role in ensuring the close to 100 per cent uptime demanded by customers leasing the sites.

Hybrid power systems are suitable for applications in the developing world, where they ensure continuous, energy-efficient operation of off-grid mobile base transceiver stations (BTS) while delivering savings in fuel costs and reductions in carbon emissions.

Eltek Valere has developed its hybrid power solution for mobile operators in regions where centralised electricity supplies are unstable – or unavailable – and diesel generators are normally needed to run for at least 30 per cent of each day.

Rather than take the conventional approach of using the generator as the primary power source, Eltek Valere is using Saft’s Sunica Plus batteries as the primary source of power, combined with a simple and low OPEX free cooling unit, with the diesel generator providing the recharge current.

The advantage of this approach is a reduction in operating costs (OPEX) of between 50-85 per cent combined with a reduction in carbon emissions of between 48-80 per cent, depending on site load, compared with continuous generator operation.

The diesel generators only need to run for a fraction of the time, so reducing fuel consumption, emissions and maintenance requirements.

The hybrid system offers the additional benefit of the option to use energy from wind turbines or photovoltaic solar panels.

Eltek Valere has designed the system as a modular solution so that it can be deployed on new sites or as a retrofit for existing sites.

Younis Shan, sales director for alternative energy solutions at Eltek Valere, said: ‘The greatest advantage of Saft’s Sunica Plus batteries for us is their ability to tolerate both extreme temperatures, eliminating the need for expensive air-conditioning units, and heavy cycling without significant degradation in performance or useful life.

‘Even in this very demanding application we expect them to have a lifetime of five years and more, with a payback between 12 and 18 months.

‘Furthermore, they also provide a lower weight for a given quantity of stored energy as well as excellent chargeability,’ Shan added.

Saft Sunica Plus rechargeable nickel-based batteries are adapted for hybrid applications that combine various methods of generation, such as PV, wind power and diesel generators.

They have good chargeability that enables highly efficient operation under fluctuating charging conditions.

The batteries also offer good cycling capability to withstand daily and seasonal cycling at variable depths of discharge and state of charge.

An additional benefit of the Sunica Plus design, according to Saft, is that it provides reliability and the capability to function in temperatures from -50C to +70C while ensuring continuous operation at any state of charge.

The low-maintenance design of the Sunica Plus batteries is said to help keep total cost of ownership to a minimum.

It incorporates an optimised electrode design combined with an internal gas recombination process that provides good behaviour under unstable charging conditions and extends the interval for topping up with water.

This is particularly important in remote installations.

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