Intelligent Energy Ltd., a maker of fuel cells that works with Suzuki Motor Corp., agreed a deal in India with the potential to grow to more than $300 million.
The maker of fuel cells for cars, homes and businesses will work with Ascend Telecom Infrastructure Private Ltd. to install technology at telecommunications towers across India, Henri Winand, chief executive officer of the Loughborough, U.K.-based company, said by phone. The first phase of the deal is valued at about $82 million and growth potential is more than $300 million, he said.
Almost three-quarters of India’s 425,000 telecommunications towers don’t have grid power for at least eight hours a day because of power cuts, Intelligent Energy said in a statement. The industry relies on costly and polluting diesel generators, and is the second-largest consumer of the fuel in the country.
“The price of diesel is going up quite a lot so providers are seeking alternative ways,” Winand said. “Most of India is importing diesel from abroad so it’s a foreign exchange and growth story.” Ascend has a network of telecommunications towers across 26 states providing coverage for 10 million customers.
The number of towers in India is expected to almost double to 800,000 by 2020 and is already worth $2.8 billion, according to the statement. Intelligent Energy expects to replicate its deal in emerging markets such as in Southeast Asia and Africa.
The fuel cells use hydrogen and can be included in portable devices such as laptops or used to generate heat and electricity for domestic and small-scale power production near the point of use. They can be used in vehicles such as cars and motorbikes.