It has countless advantages over air cooling.
Intel has announced a partnership with Green Revolution Cooling (GRC) to develop sustainable immersion cooling for data centers. The first fruit of the partnership is a summary of the findings on the utility of immersion cooling, which is presented in a recently published white paper. According to two 2020 estimates, data centers are responsible for 1.5 to 2 percent of the world’s energy consumption, and this proportion could increase to 13 percent within ten years. About half of this energy is used by the computers themselves, and 25-40 percent is used by the air conditioning, according to the US Department of Energy. Some data centers have recently taken steps to improve cooling efficiency, but these have been negated by the increasing power consumption of new hardware. According to Statista, the average energy efficiency of all large data centers has been stagnant for about a decade. Intel and GRC say in their white paper that immersion cooling eliminates the need for server fans, which account for 10-15 percent of server power consumption. Immersion cooling can also remove heat faster than air cooling, resulting in greater efficiency gains, but the document did not quantify these. Intel and GRC show the greatest interest in single-phase immersion cooling as opposed to two-phase cooling. The former uses a pump to circulate a non-conductive fluid around a tank containing several servers, and relies on a heat exchanger to cool the fluid. This is simpler than two-phase cooling, in which the liquid boils to a gas and then cools back to a liquid.”Intel is designing silicon with immersion cooling in mind, rethinking elements like the heatsink,” the company said. According to the white paper, immersion cooling has other advantages over air cooling. Data centers collectively use billions of gallons of water each year for cooling and power generation, which immersion cooling would significantly reduce. Immersion-cooled centers can be built smaller than air-cooled centers, which reduces wasted land and construction costs. However, this also has its faults. Having to submerge all of your systems would be a maintenance nightmare and errors would be more severe. However, it seems that Intel is willing to bet on it quite seriously. In May, the company announced plans to build a $700 million research lab in Oregon that will focus on sustainability initiatives including immersion cooling, heat recovery and water efficiency. Other companies, including Microsoft, are joining in experimenting with immersion cooling and other quirky approaches to cooling as data centers grow larger and the need for sustainable solutions becomes more pressing.Hardware, software, tests, interesting and colorful news from the world of IT by clicking here!