Nokia has ambitious environmental targets and actions to reduce global CO2 emissions. Following #EarthDay 2019, we continue with our reviews looking at our active contributions to reduce power consumption and carbon emissions, not just at a corporate level, but also to ensure that our products meet the same standards now and in the future. Here we take a look at how one of our products, Liquid Cooling, could make a significant contribution to lower energy consumption in the world of 5G and the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Mobile operators face a huge global energy bill and this is only set to increase as demand and consumption of mobile data grows exponentially. What is needed is the ability to decouple mobile data growth from energy usage to avoid environmental and fiscal damage. A lot of waste heat is generated by base stations (BTS). Usually base station sites will be cooled by air condition equipment which transfers the waste heat out of the site. However, every kW of heat power requires 1kW of cooling power and air conditioning equipment is expensive to buy, requires regular and often expensive maintenance (e.g. changing filters) and also generates noise pollution.
“Liquid cooling, rather than air cooling can rebalance the cost and environmental deficits. As a medium, liquids are 4,000 times more effective at transferring heat compared to air. Plus liquid cooled BTS equipment become 50% smaller and 30% lighter, so we can get rid of noisy fan units.”—Harry Kuosa, Head, Single RAN & Zero Emission Marketing, Nokia
Removing air conditioning equipment can reduce BTS site power consumption by 50%. When heat is inside liquid, it can be transferred for long distances for other uses, for example, to heat a building. And when heat is re-used for other purpose, then BTS site CO2 emissions can be reduced by 80%. For example, we are working with Elisa to use previously wasted heat for the heating system in a Helsinki apartment block.
Liquid cooling for all generations of BTS are a Nokia BellLabs innovation, and at MWC19 we were the first to demonstrate our liquid cooled 5G base station. Read about our 5G Liquid cooling, and join Nokia in taking the path to a low energy, low emissions and so much brighter future for everyone.
The author is Head, Single RAN & Zero Emission Marketing, Nokia
PS – A larger version of this article was published in Voice&Data, June 2019.