January 14, 2014 / 6:55 AM / in 4 years

UK's Intelligent Energy gets deal to supply fuel cells in India

LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Intelligent Energy, a British hydrogen fuel cell developer and manufacturer, said it had signed an $82 million contract, its biggest so far, to provide its technology for mobile phone masts in India.

Chief Executive Henri Winand said the technology, originally developed with Suzuki Motor Corp to power motor scooters, was cheaper and more reliable than diesel generators, which have provided back-up power for the towers.

The agreement with India’s Ascend Telecom Infrastructure covers 4,000 towers serving some 10 million mobile phone users, said Intelligent Energy, a privately owned company named by Deloitte as one of the fastest growing UK technology companies in 2013.

“We have been generating power quietly for two years (in India), but now we are taking contracts where we are competitive and more cost-effective than the distributed diesel generation baseline,” he said in an telephone interview.

“It’s the first contract we have taken of this nature and this size and scope.”

The hydrogen fuel cell systems provide back-up power when electricity from the grid fails, which can happen for up to 12 hours of each 24, Winand said.

The contract lasts more than five years and has the potential to grow to about $200 million as Ascend’s mast coverage grows, he said. (Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Jane Baird)

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