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The 3W's of Immersion Cooling: What, Why and When!

Discover the WHAT, WHEN and WHY of Immersion Cooling

April 3, 2020

By Daniel Pope


Immersion Cooling is a well proven technology in many industries today, most especially when it comes to high power transformers and EV battery packs, it’s the most efficient way to thermally and electrically protect high heat density components.

Immersion Cooled Modular Battery Pack System from Xing Mobility.

Computer hardware has been immersion cooled since the early 1960’s with some of the first supercomputers being fully submerged into a dielectric liquid. The main reason for this approach not going mainstream was most probably because we simply didn’t need to do it. We took the path of less resistance. Lower density chips are better off cooled by air but Moore’s Law has been constantly met and now we’re in a very different situation where some major trends are aligning. 

The sum of these trends poses a unique challenge and opportunity to the datacenter industry and our connected world - and at Submer we intend to embrace this challenge.

1. What is Immersion Cooling? 

Also known as liquid submersion cooling, it is the practice of submerging computer components (or full servers) in a thermally, but not electrically, conductive liquid (dielectric coolant). Still rarely used for the cooling of IT Hardware, this method is slowly becoming popular with innovative datacenters the world over. 

IT Hardware or servers cooled in this manner don't require fans and the heat exchange between the warm coolant and cool water circuit usually occurs through a heat exchanger (i.e. heater core or radiator). Some extreme density supercomputers such as the Cray-2 and Cray T90 use large liquid-to-chilled liquid heat exchangers for heat removal.

There are two types of Immersion Cooling: single phase and double phase.

2. Why is Immersion Cooling the smart choice?

From an operations perspective, Immersion Cooling simplifies datacenter commissioning and maintenance, thanks to the use of scalable building blocks on the compute and cooling side. The combination of our SmartPod platform together with dry-cooler or adiabatic cooling infrastructure for the secondary cooling loops, enables infrastructures that have much simpler requirements on the water loop and consume less energy and resources than any other type of cooling infrastructure.

From a practical perspective, deployment is quicker and simpler.

The economical benefits of Immersion Cooling go from numbers like 99% saving of electricity cooling costs, a reduction of 50% of the datacenter TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), to zero water consumption.

3. When is Immersion Cooling the smart choice?

If you sense that right now, or in a nearby future, your datacenter or HPC infrastructure needs to...

  1. Achieve hardware density greater than 15kW per rack
  2. Reduce datacenter and building cooling costs drastically
  3. Achieve a 1.02 PUE!

Do you want to know more? Read the full ebook for free here!

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