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Intel and GRC advance liquid immersion cooling

It’s been a long time since Intel has been going strong in matters related to the liquid immersion cooling. To this end, it is participating in several initiatives focused on optimizing and improving this system. Like the one that was born from the agreement that it signed at the beginning of this year 2022 with GRC, focused on the development of cooling systems of this type for data centers. Now, as a result of this collaboration, a study has just been published, jointly between Intel and GRC, on reducing the carbon footprint using liquid immersion cooling in data centers.

Both Intel and Green Revolution Cooling (GRC) point out that this cooling system reduces the amount of energy needed to cool a data center. In addition, they confirm that it is also an effective measure for reducing operating costs.

GRC, specialized in immersion refrigeration technologies, received an investment of 28 million dollars last March from the South Korean company SK Lubricants to advance in this type of system. Additionally, Intel announced in May the construction of its own laboratory to develop, test and demonstrate immersion cooling technologies. For this, it announced an investment of 700 million dollars.

Now, with the publication of this joint study, Intel positions itself as an expert company in this cooling system, which it sees as necessary because it alleges that «data centers use approximately 1.5% to 2% of the entire world’s electricity supply. And if nothing is done, this percentage will grow to 13% over the next decade.«.

Of this consumption, an estimated 40% is invested in cooling the entire data center infrastructure and, as the energy density of processors continues to grow, servers are already crossing the limits of the capacity that computers can cover. current cooling systems. Therefore, air cooling is no longer sufficient for the tasks of cooling equipment and systems.

Many data center operators are aware of the situation, and about 75% are also thinking about the importance of sustainability as a competitive differentiator, according to Intel and GRC. However, both companies point out that data centers are already locked in for energy efficiency. Hence, they have decided to start by addressing that 40% of energy consumed by refrigeration systems.

The study also indicates that removing internal fans from servers reduces power consumption by 10% to 15%. The hot components inside the chassis then have to be cooled in some way, something that could be easily done with a system where a coolant circulates through heat sinks attached to these components. For example, to the CPU. Some manufacturers, such as Inspur, already offer this type of solution as an option.

But Intel and GRC point out that full liquid immersion cooling allows more servers to fit in a given space. They also ensure that this system reduces the amount of equipment necessary for the operation of the systems, such as cables, generators and switches, which also reduces the energy load necessary to make everything work.

However, there are still some doubts about this system, such as the fact that filter systems and software are needed to track fluid quality refrigerants. This makes companies need to control it, Intel ensures that as companies in sectors such as cloud computing and telecommunications adopt liquid cooling solutions, this will also improve, since they will be able to improve designs of elements that contribute to their need, such as heat sinks, and make them already specific for liquid immersion

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