The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) recently deployed a new backup power solution in an effort to both harden their data center and to lead the cable industry by example. Beginning with the founding of the Smart Energy Management Initiative (SEMI) , SCTE has led the charge to define and encourage best practices for sustainable and cost-effective energy management across the cable and broadband industries.

Recently, SCTE deployed an alternative-energy system that includes a roof-mounted photovoltaic system which augments utility power. In the case of utility failure, the system can provide critical system power for an extended period. This system, provided by Alpha Technologies, charges a string of batteries which can be used to power critical systems after the sun goes down. In the case of extended utility failure and limited solar exposure, the photovoltaic system is itself backed up utilizing yet another green technology—a hydrogen fuel cell solution from CommScope. The solution is available to charge battery strings and run critical systems when required.

The hydrogen fuel cell solution deployed by SCTE is an outdoor cabinet that uses a proton exchange membrane cell to directly convert hydrogen to electricity, generating only water and heat as by-products. The fuel cell has a 16-canister fuel cabinet, but supports a variety of fueling mechanisms and hot swapping, so it can run as long as fuel is provided. The fuel cell generates no pollutants and very little noise, and offers 99.99% reliability, unlike traditional diesel generators.

So why would SCTE deploy these solutions? We may argue the finer points of environmental stewardship, but cleaner, quieter, more reliable and less costly to operate are tough to argue against. As an industry lead, SCTE is showing one way that a cable operator can harden their critical infrastructure while reducing the footprint that we all inevitably leave behind.

About the Author

Mark Alrutz

Mark Alrutz is the vice president of global service providers in the FAE organization for CommScope. He is responsible for technical solution sales, applications engineering, pre- and post-sales technical support, and customer training. Mr. Alrutz received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and master of science degree  in management from Georgia Tech. He has been an active SCTE member since 1996. He also participates on the SCTE Interface Practices Subcommittee and the Energy 2020 program. Mr. Alrutz holds numerous U.S. patents and has been published in several industry trade magazines.


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