UK emergency service TETRA radio operator, Airwave, has installed new wind turbines on three of its base sites in Scotland with a further 20 sites being evaluated as part of an ongoing sustainable upgrade of the network.
Operational since the end of June 2013, the three Antaris 2.5 kW Braun Windturbinen units, installed by Harringtons, are fully functional and have already recorded significant operational savings.
The remote location of the sites had previously presented the challenge that none of them had access to mains electricity and therefore relied solely on diesel generators.
According to Martin Benké, network operations director at Airwave: “We tested a number of different solutions for a sustainable power source. Each product was stress-tested according to our stringent demands for durability, sustainability, as well as the associated maintenance.”
By further combining the new wind turbines with an LPG generator, instead of the more traditional diesel generator, the generator can cycle intermittently as opposed to being permanently on. This has resulted in a reduction of operational costs for these base sites of 60%.
“We have calculated that the generators are now only running for 2-3% of the time instead of permanently being in use. This is an additional long-term saving in terms of maintenance costs,” added Benké.
To extend the battery life and prevent overcharging, each site has also been fitted with high-capacity lithium batteries, which have been integrated into the system and are now being used to control when the generator is turned on and off.
“We continue to conduct live testing on the three sites to further improve the viability of the solution. In addition, we are currently evaluating 20 sites to see whether they are suitable for conversion. The factors that we consider include a high level of sustainability and how the location and sensitivity of the site can benefit from the swap out,” concluded Benké.