Swedish company takes prestigious innovation prize

The Lidköping-based Flexenclosure swept away all competitors to win a much-desired Mobile Innovation Global Award at the Mobile World Congress underway this week in Barcelona.

The prize means the company will need to expand quickly.

“Things will probably move fast now, as there are already some of the world’s largest mobile operators waiting at our booth to discuss workinng with us,” said Flexenclosure CEO Stefan Jern.

The company, which has 20 employees in Lidköping and a similar number at an Estonian manufacturing site, received the honor for its method of powering mobile base stations with sun and wind in areas where one would otherwise use large diesel generators.

Other companies, like Ericsson, have showcased alternative methods using small base stations, but not for large structures and not with a smart control system which monitors operations automatically.

According to Jern, a diesel powered base station consumes about 20 cubic meters of diesel a year.

“We can remove 80 percent of that diesel, which means a lot for the environment and for operators who want to offer inexpensive mobile telephony in developing countries,” he said.

The market for environmentally-friendly and energy-saving base stations is enormous. The industry estimates that 70 percent of base stations to be built in the next few years, or about 120,000 per year, will lack connections to existing energy grids.

“If all of those base stations operate on diesel, they would generate carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide produced in London every year,” said Jern.

Flexenclosure’s CEO isn’t exactly sure what the prize will mean for his company just yet.

“We had projected on making deliveries for 100 units this year, but the jury asked how quickly we can increase to at least 5,000, so there is clearly reason to believe that we will need to hire a few more people to increase production as quickly as possible,” he said.

But one thing is crystal clear: there will be champagne flowing in Barcelona on Tuesday night.

“As soon as we can get out,” said Jern.

“But we’ve got a lot of people who want to meet with us first.”