German lubricant manufacturing giant FUCHS has launched three compounds designed specifically for the needs of immersion cooling enthusiasts.
The new line of RENOLIN Fluids for Electronic Component Cooling (FECC) promises optimal heat conductivity, high flash points, negligible water content, strong dielectric properties, low odor, and long-term stability.
Immersion cooling sinks server equipment in enclosures filled with non-conducting mineral oils or synthetic fluids, enabling efficient transfer of heat away from chips.
This approach enables much higher power densities when compared to traditional air cooling; despite very attractive benefits, the adoption has been slow – but things seem to have progressed somewhat in 2021. For example, Microsoft kicked off a major experiment with immersion cooling in April.
“We are excited to apply our thermal management fluid expertise, global production and support services to help reduce the CO2 and environmental impact of the Data Center industry while supporting its tremendous growth,” said Paul Lindsay, Vice President of Industrial Sales at FUCHS Lubricants.
Take a dip
FUCHS has been making oil products for nearly a century, and is the world's largest independent lubricant manufacturer.
Its latest offering is a line of single phase immersion cooling fluids aimed squarely at data centers, designed to compete against the likes of M3 and its Novec compounds.
The range includes RENOLIN FECC 5, RENOLIN FECC 5 SYNTH, and RENOLIN FECC 7 – offering different levels of density, thermal conductivity, heat capacity, and viscosity.
The new liquids should encourage wider uptake of immersion cooling by data center builders. Today, off-the-shelf immersion cooling systems are available from startups including Green Revolution Cooling (GRC) in the US, and Submer and Asperitas in Europe, to name a few. In its trials in 2021, Microsoft used a system built by Taiwan’s Wiwynn.
The benefits of immersion cooling include reduced energy and water usage, ability to support much hotter equipment, less mechanical wear and tear, and less noise in the data hall. The main drawback is the necessity to re-architect the traditional data center layout: a facility composed entirely from immersion-cooled racks looks very different (see image below, provided by GRC).
According to a 2020 report from analyst firm Omdia, the market for liquid cooling products is expected to roughly double by 2025, growing 16% per year, on average.
“It is becoming increasingly likely that we see immersion cooling move into larger scale commercial deployments,” Vladimir Galabov, Omdia’s hear of Cloud and Data Center Research Practice, wrote in an analyst opinion published in April 2021. “We will also see more vendors entering the market and large end users such as hyperscale cloud service providers (CSPs) looking to deploy immersion cooling to decrease DC power consumption.”