NTT Docomo demonstrated a novel approach to powering base stations using a hydroelectric system and a jet turbine, with the operator targeting use of the system to generate low-cost, green energy by March 2025. 

The initiative aims to use renewable hydropower in places where solar panels are not practical.

A jet turbine generates electricity using a nozzle to emit a stream of water flowing in an irrigation canal to drive the turbine’s rotation in the opposite direction, Docomo explained in a statement.

While conventional hydroelectric systems use a separate nozzle and turbine, the new device combines both components. The design was developed by professor Yukihiro Shimatani of the Prefectural University of Kumamoto, Japan.

The hydropower system also collects data on electric current, voltage and power, as well as water flow and pressure, which are transmitted to Docomo’s energy management system platform to monitor and control power going to a base station. 

In 2022, Docomo set the target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 2030. It also targets its entire supply chain meeting that goal by 2040.