• November 21st, 2012
  • Darren Kingman

We’ve all been made aware of the damage natural disasters have caused and the importance of a communications network when it does. Most recently we’ve seen Hurricane Sandy temporarily suspend entire networks on the East coast of the US. Further back, we’ve also seen the damage that tsunami’s have caused, specifically for phone networks in Japan, which has prompted the NTT DoCoMo network to invest in building a solution to sustain the networks when disasters do occur.

The network have been working with Nokia Siemens and Ballard Power Systems to develop methanol-powered fuel cells to power the phone system in the event of a power outage. These base stations will allow the networks to be run in the event of losing an electricity source and could remove the need for batteries currently powered by diesel.

If successful this type of technology will grow from its grass routes currently in Japan, and could start to be implemented for networks all around the world. It could also open up opportunities for cheaper methods of charging batteries within mobile phones themselves, which is also another opportunity that is being explored in Japan at a company called ROHM.