A cool $28m for datacenter immersion company GRC

Backers include SK Lubricants as dielectric fluid research partner


An enterprise immersion cooling company has received a $28 million investment it plans to use to sink itself into additional customer datacenters.

Green Revolution Cooling, one of the better known datacenter immersion cooling firms in the market, said the cash influx from South Korean company SK Lubricants would be spent on its collaborations with Intel and others, additional deployments with partners Dell and Vertiv, funding a recently established UK subsidiary, plus "continuing to expand its international footprint and global headcount," according to a release

GRC said immersion cooling in the datacenter is a massively growing market. Citing recent research from Dell'Oro, GRC said revenue from datacenter liquid cooling grew by 65 percent in 2021, and 25 percent more growth is expected in 2022. 

Immersion cooling, in contrast to liquid cooling, which uses a series of pipes to move liquid for cooling, involves submerging entire computer systems in non-conductive liquid. Compared to other cooling methods, immersion is leaps and bounds more efficient but still fails to capture much of the market, largely due to potential failures leading to spills, damaged equipment, and other potential liquid-related mishaps. 

GRC already has significant penetration amongst those convinced by immersion cooling, with its systems being used at some of the above-mentioned client sites, as well as the Texas Advanced Computing Facility, where it recently installed an ICEraQ Series 10 cooling system. Other customers include supercomputing sites like the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Vienna Scientific Cluster, as well as multiple of US government agencies. 

SK Lubricants, the GRC investor, intends to contribute through joint research to "develop high-grade single phase immersion coolants and liquid immersion cooling systems for datacenters," it said. A major part of that research will be identifying new, higher-performance dielectric fluids used for moving heat away from electronics. 

As it stands now, SK said, liquid immersion cooling can reduce datacenter power consumption by 30 percent, which in turn contributes to a 20 percent reduction in operating costs compared with air cooling. 

There are two types of immersion cooling: Single-phase, that pumps heated liquid out and cooler liquid back in, and two-phase, which evaporates the liquid, recondenses it, uses it for additional cooling, and then pumps it back into the server as a liquid.  

Datacenters are increasingly packed with high-density hardware that can't be air cooled (or even piped-liquid cooled) with anything approaching efficiency. "As the AI, the VR and the self-driving industries are gaining traction, the high-density datacenter market is expected to grow dramatically," said SK Lubricants CEO Cha Gyu-tak.

The partnership, Cha said, will help accelerate the growth of liquid immersion cooling, and "position us to be the first mover in the market, while helping us grow into a liquid-based thermal management solution provider."

SK Lubricants also plans to grow into a liquid-based thermal management solution provider through the deal, which it said will help it further its enterprise sustainability goals by providing cooling with a minimal carbon footprint. ®

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