SK Invests in Data Center Cooling

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SK Invests in Data Center Cooling
© Климов Максим

SK Lubricants made an equity investment in GRC, a liquid immersion cooling solutions provider for data centers, and will supply its own base oils for use in the American company’s fluids, the two companies announced last week.

SK invested U.S. $25 million into GRC, based in Austin, Texas. Liquid immersion cooling is a way to cool data center hardware by immersing it in non-conductive electronic liquids or engineered fluids, as opposed to traditional air cooling using fans.

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SK Lubricants “seeks to use premium base oil as a premium single-phase immersion coolant to substantially grow its thermal management line of business in the future and to become a liquid-based thermal management solution provider,” SK said in a press release issued March 29.

“As the AI, the VR and the self-driving industries are gaining traction, the high-density data center market is expected to grow dramatically,” said Cha Gyu-tak, CEO of SK Lubricants. “I believe this equity investment in GRC will maximize cooperation between the two companies and help us be the first mover in the market while helping us grow into a liquid-based thermal management solution provider and accelerating the execution of our financial story in the long term.”

Liquid immersion cooling can lower data center power usage by 30%, SK says. The method will contribute to carbon emission reduction as part of the company’s environmental, social and governance strategy.

GRC’s customers include Intel, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense.

According to GRC’s website, its products include both larger modular data centers that house the modular liquid immersion cooling system in a large container that provides location flexibility, and smaller, micro-modular, rack-based immersion cooling systems with minimal site requirements. A recent report by the Dell’Oro Group, a market research company for data center IT infrastructure, estimated the liquid cooling market grew 65% in 2021, and forecast an additional 25% growth in 2022.

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