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Idea Cellular bags $1 mn US grant for green telecom project

India's third largest telecom operator Idea Cellular has received a grant of over $1 million from the US Trade & Development Agency (USTDA) to fund a pilot project involving deployment of Solar Hybrid Methanol-Based Fuel Cell (SHMBFC) at telecom sites in India, the company said Tuesday.

An agreement to this effect was signed between US Ambassador to India Nancy J. Powell and Idea managing director Himanshu Kapania at the US Consulate in Mumbai, Monday evening.

In a first ever funding of a Green Telecom project in India by the USTDA, Idea will be supported by ICF International, which will undertake a feasibility study. The pilot project will assess the technical, economic and financial feasibility of deploying methanol-based fuel cell systems that provide continuous and uninterruptible power to off-grid telecom towers at five sites belonging to Idea Cellular, an Aditya Birla Group company.

The project would help Idea Cellular replace stationary diesel engines by demonstrating SHMBFC technology at five telecom tower sites using 2.5 and 5.0 kilowatt fuel cell units.

“Projects like these directly support US government policy priorities to promote domestic energy production, rural electrification, and cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels in India. And it will lessen the country’s dependence on oil and gas imports,â€Â Powell said.

“The grant offered by the USTDA will further spur our efforts towards reducing carbon emissions from telecom infrastructure in the country,â€Â Kapania said.