University of Oulu

Powering remote area base stations by renewable energy

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Author: Tahir, Ali1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Communications Engineering
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Tahir, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-12-05
Thesis type: Master's thesis (tech)
Tutor: Saarnisaari, Harri
Reviewer: Saarnisaari, Harri
Posti, Harri


The number of cellular subscriptions have seen a tremendous growth in the last decade and to provide connectivity for everyone has led to growth in number of base stations (BSs). BSs installed at places where reliable grid power is not available has increased and will continue to increase in the coming years to connect everybody on the globe. Energy and cost efficiency is becoming a criterion of ever increasing importance in the information and communication technology sector. Energy and cost efficiency is especially important for remote areas where providing mobile communication services is inhibited by the economic drawback of low revenue potential.

In this thesis, we discuss the role of BS power consumption in the cellular networks in order to investigate approaches to lower the overall power consumption of the cellular network. The thesis covers structure of a BS and the power consumption of its components. Previous works and research approaches proposed to reduce the power consumption of BSs and to what extent they can lower the power requirement are discussed. Reducing the BS power consumption will reduce the operating cost for the networks and ease the deployment of BSs in remote areas. Also discussed are the two key technical features of 5th generation cellular access networks (beam forming through massive multiple input multiple output antenna systems and ultra-lean system design) that are promising in terms of reducing the BS power consumption.

Furthermore, we discuss viable sources of renewable energy that can be used to power BSs in the remote areas. An overview of the renewable energy resources that can be used for this purpose (solar and wind energy) and their availability in different regions is discussed. The setups for harnessing solar and wind energy to generate power are presented in this thesis.

For different cases requirements of wind and solar energy systems to power the BSs are calculated. Results show that while solar energy alone is a feasible option in regions at low latitude, small solar energy systems of 4–7 kW rated output power can easily power BS during the entire year. But in regions of high latitude using solar energy alone cannot meet the BS power requirement as there are long durations of very low or negligible solar irradiation levels. Furthermore, the energy produced by small wind energy setups at different wind speeds is investigated for the purpose of powering BSs. We discuss the range of windspeed levels for which the energy produced is sufficient to power a BS. Areas with average windspeeds of 5–8 m/s are very suitable for using wind energy as a source of power for BSs. Hybrid energy systems to power BSs and also a few energy storage options to store excess power are also discussed in this thesis.

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