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Castrol forms new partnership to further immersion cooling

Coolant Monitoring

Leading lubricant brand Castrol is set to work with the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) on developing new coolant fluids for use in immersion cooling for power-hungry data centres.

Immersion cooling typically involves immersing IT equipment like servers in a coolant fluid that has been specially developed to conduct heat without conducting electricity; this is so that it can make direct contact with electronic components. Rebecca Yates, the Vice President for Advanced Lubricants Products at BP, owner of the Castrol brand, said about the technology:

“Immersion cooling is a fast-developing sphere of innovation, spurred on by the global need to optimise the efficiency and energy usage of the world’s most powerful datacentres.”

Castrol has already set up a centre in the UK where interested customers can test the technology, and it is also working with Submer, which focuses on immersion cooling, to develop next-generation coolants. Submer’s systems currently use single-phase immersion cooling, and while these can extract the waste heat into a more reusable form than traditional air conditioning, the choice of coolant can be an issue. For example, some operators may prefer not to use a fluid based on mineral oil, while more sustainable options may be expensive.

The new partnership will look to address the long-term challenges to immersion cooling as IT equipment and components evolve. For example, it could look at developing fluids free from potentially harmful perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for two-phase immersion cooling. This approach to cooling removes heat even more rapidly by boiling and condensing fluids.

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