SK, Dell, GRC Link for Liquid Immersion Cooling


SK, Dell, GRC Link for Liquid Immersion Cooling
A view of a Gigabyte two-phase immersion liquid cooling, completely submerged data center/server type computer at a trade show event. © John D. Ivanko / Alamy Stock Photo

SK Enmove today announced a memorandum of understanding with computer maker Dell Technologies and United States-based GRC to encourage the spread of liquid immersion cooling technology for data centers by developing technology for such systems including coolants they would use.

Last year South Korea-based SK Enmove made a $25 million equity investment in Austin, Texas-based GRC, a liquid immersion cooling solutions provider for data centers, and the two companies announced at that time that SK would supply its own base oils for use in GRC’s fluids.

Under the agreement announced today, Dell and GRC will be in charge of liquid immersion cooling dedicated servers and cooling systems, respectively, to cooperate on technology and components for standardization of the systems. The three companies said they will jointly promote and conduct sales activities for the commercialization of the liquid immersion cooling market to secure global customers.

Through the agreement, the companies will develop technology to meet the growing demand for data centers of liquid immersion cooling systems and establish an after-sale service market. The stated objectives include securing reliability and jointly building a supply chain within key demand regions.

The memorandum of understanding aims to drive the growth of data centers for liquid immersion cooling businesses. Liquid immersion cooling provides a way to cool data center hardware by immersing it in non-conductive electronic liquids or engineered fluids, instead of traditional air-cooling using fans that pull heat away.

SK Enmove said it has been participating in collaborative partnership programs to develop data centers for liquid immersion cooling systems. Its stated future plans include the expansion of its business scope to encompass energy storage systems and thermal management solutions for electric vehicle batteries, aiming to become a comprehensive provider of thermal management solutions.

GRC CEO Peter Poulin noted that data center liquid immersion cooling systems will enhance energy efficiency in growing data centers driven by AI and machine learning. It will also be more frugal and have an environmental impact, Poulin added.

According to a Kline & Co. webinar in June on the global data center immersion cooling fluid market, cumulative demand is projected to grow from a very small base to over 250,000 cubic meters (225,000 metric tons) in 2032, driven mostly by changes expected in the 2027-2032 time frame. That includes server manufacturers recommending immersion coolant specifications for servers and a proven return on investment for large scale data centers to shift operations to immersion cooling.

According to Kline’s study, globally there are 7,000 data centers spread across the world, with the United States accounting for the largest share, of about 40%, followed by Germany, the United Kingdom and China.

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