SK Ties Up with Dell, GRC for Immersion Cooling


SK Ties Up with Dell, GRC for Immersion Cooling
A view of a Gigabyte two-phase immersion liquid cooling, completely submerged data center/server type computer at a Consumer Electronics Show event in Las Vegas, Nevada. © John D. Ivanko / Alamy Stock Photo

SK Enmove on Wednesday announced the signing of a memorandum with Dell Technologies and GRC to develop immersion cooling systems for computer data centers.

The systems would consist of Dell servers featuring GRC cooling systems filled by SK coolants.

Last year South Korea-based SK Enmove made a $25 million equity investment in Austin, Texas-based GRC, which supplies liquid immersion cooling solutions 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 Wednesday, 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 global sales activities for the commercialization of liquid immersion cooling systems.

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 said data center liquid immersion cooling systems will enhance energy efficiency of data centers – a field that is growing due to expanding use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Immersion cooling is also more frugal and makes less impact on the environment, 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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