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How Huawei technology reduces CO2 emissions

Story by
Hui Cao

Dr Hui Cao

Head of Strategy & Policy, Huawei EU Public Affairs and Communication Office

Huawei’s 5G technology is not just Green in itself, it will lead to a plethora of connected solutions which reduce CO2 emissions, improve energy efficiency and benefit the environment. 

The transition from 4G to 5G networks is underway – but it’s not just about faster wireless communications and having more smart devices. 5G technology itself will have to be much more energy efficient than its predecessors. 

Sites like data centres are facing an explosive growth in computing power due to 5G, so it is important that they employ new technologies to reduce energy consumption. The ability to process more information with less energy is a major concern of the industry.

Actually, though, 5G is the solution to the dilemma it has created. Let’s look at how. 

Thanks to 5G’s incredible data transfer rates (an average 5 000 Megabits per second instead of 4G’s 450 Mbps, with more or less the same energy use), power consumption per bit for 5G is 90% less than with 4G (0.14 Watts per Mbps compared to 1.48 W/Mbps). 

This matters a lot at intensive ICT sites such as data centres. Employing new 5G technologies themselves, they can avoid most of the increase in electricity consumption predicted by the explosion of connectivity due to 5G – and hence the CO2 emissions that would today come from producing that electricity.

This will be true industry-wide, but Huawei is leading the pack in energy efficiency. We can confidently say that, on average, our 5G equipment uses 20% less energy than our competitors. So, deploying Huawei 5G is a commitment to Green ICT.

Reducing CO2 emissions from traffic

While Green is driving technological innovation in the ICT industry, it is also now a major selling point in providing solutions to all industrial and economic sectors that have to curb their CO2 emissions. Consumers also want the technology, in order to become greener and more responsible citizens.

One that can have a major impact in this respect is C-V2X for connected vehicles. C-V2X means Connected Vehicle-to-Everything and it will use 5G mobile networks to revolutionise the transport of both people and freight. By buying a car with C-V2X technology, for example, you will be able to connect not just to better ‘infotainment’ systems but also to other vehicles, to the new generation of roadside infrastructure aimed at making driving safer, as well as road information systems, the Internet and all your new apps, as you move along the highway at speeds up to 120 kilometres per hour.

How does this contribute to reducing CO2 emissions? Well, vehicles will not only be smarter in terms of their fuel consumption, but 5G-connected driving will be much more efficient. Connection to roadside infrastructure, such as predictive traffic lights, automatic toll points and hazard warning systems, will lead to less congestion on the roads and smoother passage, resulting in less idling of vehicles and shorter journey times. This is important not just for cars, but perhaps more so for trucks, buses, coaches, and emergency vehicles. 

The smooth interaction between all vehicles and the roadside will have a major impact in reducing transport emissions and helping nations meet targets established in the Paris Agreement. C-V2X, combined with advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), also has the potential to cut accidents and fatalities on the roads drastically (by as much as 96% in the long term), a strategic goal of the European Union. 

5G networks for Smart Farms

We know that the combination of 5G networks and the Internet of Things will help Smart Cities become cleaner, energy efficient (applications already abound for buildings, waste collection, smart energy metering, etc.) and generally more pleasant places to live. But let’s not forget the big impact 5G wireless networks will have in rural environments, for instance in enabling smart agriculture.

Huawei has just joined forces with the Swiss research centre Agroscope, and Switzerland’s 5G operator Sunrise, to develop smart agricultural applications at the Swiss Future Farm in Tänikon in the canton of Thurgau. 

Typical smart agriculture applications include the use of drones to survey crops and land, connected livestock, smart irrigation, predictive AI and other digital farming tools to help farmers effectively grow quality produce without exerting excessive pressure on the environment. 5G drones, for example, can now use 4K video surveillance to oversee plant protection on large-scale farms, helping them plan the better use of fertilizers, reducing the impact on the environment. 

This is a very crucial time for planet Earth in its efforts to mitigate climate change and reduce global warming. Huawei, for one, is doubling its Green 5G research and innovation efforts, coming up with solutions that will have a real and positive impact in safeguarding the planet for future generations.