How Immersion Cooling Oil Will Support the Data Revolution

Apr 2, 2024 | Product Applications

The amount of data used every year is growing incredibly quickly. In 2013, the world used about 10 zettabytes (a zettabyte is a million million gigabytes) of information. By 2025, that number is predicted to grow to as much as 180 zettabytes

Advances in data-driven technology have spurred this growth. Not only is there more data than ever to collect from the internet’s 5.35 billion users (that’s two-thirds of the world’s population), but companies are also using this data in new ways. 

Artificial intelligence, for example, is a tool that takes advantage of the massive amount of data now available on the internet. By applying a great deal of computational power to it, AI can produce important insights. And big data analytics are used in a diverse array of fields from finance to sports to marketing. 

These powerful computers are going to be running hotter than ever, and traditional air cooling methods are too inefficient and inconvenient. Immersion cooling oils offer an effective, straightforward alternative and are useful in industries ranging from data centers to electric vehicles.

Problems With Traditional Cooling Methods

The infrastructure necessary to support this massive growth is lagging behind. While GPUs like NVIDIA’s H100 ––– which includes around 80 billion transistors ––– increase data usage, and increases in rack density create a great deal of heat, many data centers still use air-cooling to keep their servers running optimally. 

However, this method is expensive, and it is not very effective either. Air cooling requires a large amount of space, water, and extra hardware, while still creating hotspots at certain places in the server room. 

What’s more, it’s part of the reason why the data center industry uses as much as 1% of the world’s electricity, a number only set to expand with the growth of big data. 

The Alternative: Immersion Cooling Oil

Led by Shell, advances in gas-to-liquid (GTL) technology have enabled the development of an alternative cooling method that uses immersion cooling oils and fluids instead of chillers and fans. 

Servers are immersed in a dielectric fluid based on a high-purity mineral oil with a thermal capacity more than a thousand times greater than air’s. This fluid conducts heat but not electricity, making it highly effective for cooling computer parts. 

What are the advantages of immersion cooling oils and fluids over traditional air-cooling systems? 

  1. Efficiency: Because the dielectric fluids have such a significantly higher thermal capacity than air, they keep temperatures lower more consistently, resulting in as much as a 40 percent faster CPU performance
  1. Simplicity: Instead of using complicated systems with many parts, the immersion cooling method is simple, allowing for greater scalability. Also, data center developers can be more flexible with where they locate server banks and how they arrange them. Data centers can use as much as 80% less floor place when switching to an immersion cooling oil system. 
  1. Sustainability: Using immersion cooling oil also helps a great deal with lowering the environmental impact of these massive data centers, leading to a 48 percent reduction in energy use and a 30 percent reduction in CO2 production. In some cases, heat generated by computer servers can even be reused in district heating projects. 

Industries Poised to Benefit From Immersion Cooling Oil

Data Centers

As discussed above, one of the primary applications of these immersion cooling oils is in data centers. These data centers support growing technologies such as: 

  • Cloud computing, 
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence, 
  • Media streaming, and 
  • Other computationally demanding technologies. 

Cryptocurrency Mining

Cryptocurrency mines have many of the same requirements, as they use large computer banks which must perform at a high degree of computational complexity and speed. 

Because of their more efficient cooling properties, immersion cooling banks can help crypto miners solve for hash codes and earn coins faster than other miners. 

Electric Vehicles

Another surprising industry benefiting from these dielectric fluids is the electric vehicle industry. These oils can solve the cooling and lubrication problems of traditional cars, but also the ones new to EVs. 

Both the complex onboard computers and large battery packs in EVs can be efficiently protected from overheating through immersion cooling.

How Renkert Oil Supports Immersion Cooling Oil Applications

Renkert Oil is proud to carry the Shell GTL isoparaffins that enable us to support emerging industries such as immersion cooling applications. 

These isoparaffins can be a good immersion cooling oil solution because they are:

  • Excellent electrical insulators,
  • Safe, pure, and readily biodegradable,
  • Have excellent thermodynamic properties, 
  • Have low volatility, and 
  • Are non-corrosive.

By keeping our finger on the pulse of market trends, we can help those in innovative and niche industries find the best specialty oil products for every application. 

Renkert combines the advantages of a large and established supplier — reliability, consistency, and quality — with a high level of attention to the unique needs of our clients, making us the perfect partner for the innovators developing the products of the future. 

Contact Renkert Oil for a consultation today to learn more about how our specialty oils can support your application.