Nokia innovates industrial-scale liquid cooling technology

Nokia AirScale

Powering a large industrial-scale 5G network infrastructure naturally generates a lot of heat. The current cooling system being used in the network infrastructure industry uses a bulky decades-old compressor-based airconditioning system.

This means aside from it being unsustainable in the long run (maintenance costs, and diminishing efficiency), the system also generates noise and emits a lot of CO2 gasses which contributes to global warming. 

To combat this issue, Nokia innovated a new type of industrial-scale liquid cooling technology that reduces CO2 emissions by 80% by capturing the waste heat from its current base station operations. Nokia is the first to commercialize this unique liquid-cooling technology. 

Using a liquid to cool base stations is way more efficient than an air-based cooling solution as liquids can transport 4,000 times more heat than air. The liquid cooling solution also runs completely silent and is maintenance-free making it an ideal choice for apartment buildings. The captured waste heat can then be used for domestic applications such as warming a room, water, and even crosswalks during winter which usually requires additional operational costs, resulting in an increase in CO2 emissions. The video below will explain how it works. 

Last year, Nokia is one of the 87 companies that pledged to lower the carbon footprint of their products (aligned to Science Based Targets) to avoid raising the global temperature to 1.5°C which can wreak havoc on the world’s ecosystem. Nokia is targeting to reduce the carbon emission of its own operations by 41%, and about 75% to all the products it sold by 2030 using its 2014 product lineup as a baseline. This approach can also be seen from one of its licensees, HMD Global (Nokia Mobile), which started using recycled materials for its current products. 

Finland’s Elisa is one of the first networks to test this technology and has been operational since 2018 for its 2G, 3G, and 4G base stations. In 2019, Nokia took a five-year-long €1.5B green loan pledging reduced greenhouse gas emissions on its operations. In the same year, the company published its sustainability report revealing its effort to modernize existing Nokia base stations to reduce energy consumption by 46%.

During the MWC 2022, Nokia Corporation was awarded the GTI Innovation for “Breakthrough in Mobile Technology” for 5G innovative liquid cooling.