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Dec 09 2016

Water – the cool new way to take the heat out of base station site energy costs

Twitter: @harkuo

Did you know that water can store a thousand times more energy than the same volume of air? Or that the thermal conductivity of air is 22 times lower than that of water? Put together, this means air is much less effective at cooling electronic equipment than water. Using air to cool components uses much more energy.

Did you also know that around 80% of a mobile network’s energy is consumed by base station sites, meaning the base station and all related equipment at the site? And that up to 50% of that energy consumption drives conventional air cooling systems such as air conditioning and fans?

Such facts led a Nokia Bell Labs team to wonder if it was technically and economically possible to use water instead of air to cool base station sites. Their research found that liquid cooling requires only 10% of the energy used by traditional air cooling.

But that’s not where the benefits end. It is also easier with water cooling to re-use the waste heat from base stations. Many base stations are mounted on or adjacent to buildings, which provide local demand for this “waste” energy for space heating and domestic hot water heating.

The value of this heat could be as high as a site’s total annual electricity bill. That is a useful sum for operators looking to reduce their radio network energy costs as well as their carbon emissions. And, because water-based cooling is so effective, it keeps a base station’s electronic components at a lower temperature, increasing their reliability and helping to cut operator maintenance costs.


See live demo at Renewable Energy World in Orlando

We will demonstrate base station liquid cooling at the Renewable Energy World show in Orlando USA on 13-15 December, so welcome to stand 4451 to see this exciting new technology for yourself!

For more info, download our handy infographic and visit our Zero Emissions webpage

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #AirScale #radio #SingleRAN #5G #basestation

About Harry Kuosa

Harry Kuosa is responsible for Single RAN marketing at Nokia Networks. He is passionate about making radio access networks simpler and easier to operate, and on environmental friendly solutions like Zero Emission to make a greener world. He has a BSc in electrical engineering and has held conference presentations at many international events.