Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
For a company that continues to get beaten down in the wireless industry, Sprint may be making headway toward a more positive future. The wireless carrier announced today that it is the only one in its industry to be awarded a $7.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
This grant is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding that has been earmarked for fuel cell technology. It is the largest single grant awarded by the Department of Energy for this round of grant funding, which had a total of $41.9 million.
Sprint (News - Alert) plans to use this grant money to expand its hydrogen fuel program at cell sites throughout the United States. This expansion will create 72 hours of additional network resiliency, especially critical during emergencies and natural disasters.
The impacted fuel cells are activated when service from the local electric utility is disrupted during severe weather or other natural disasters. Most hydrogen cells today are paired with low-pressure hydrogen tanks which provide roughly 15 hours of back-up power before needed to be refueled.
“Since 2005 Sprint has been a leader in the deployment of fuel cell technology. We have deployed more than 250 hydrogen fuel cells in our network, have been awarded a total of three Department of Energy grants to deploy new hydrogen fuel cell technologies and awarded 12 patents from the U.S. Patent Office that include hydrogen fuel cells,” said Bob Azzi, senior vice president of Network at Sprint, in a Friday statement.
Sprint has demonstrated leadership in hydrogen fuel cell deployment as this technology provides a much cleaner alternative to diesel-powered back-up generators. Sprint also recently announced a set of ambitious environmental priorities that included reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent and securing 10 percent its energy needs from renewable sources by 2017.
“Sprint gets it – this alternative source of energy for mobile communications will not only help stimulate the nation’s economy and rebuild America , but also help lead to a greener cleaner environment,” Azzi continued.
Sprint has taken a smart approach to innovation in an intensely competitive industry. The company has continued to suffer setbacks as customers have been flocking to the competition. This is not to say that the company is unable to compete, but it has hit some walls.
This grant could help to better position Sprint as not only providing quality wireless solutions, but also adhering to environmental protections. As more and more consumers are trying to go Green, this approach could prove profitable.
Edited by Patrick Barnard