Oil and gas company ExxonMobil is funneling some of its fossil fuel into data centers, in the form of a new range of immersion cooling fluids.
The products, described as a “portfolio of synthetic and non-synthetic fluids," are being launched at the Open Compute Project (OCP) Global Summit in San Jose this week, and few details have been posted as yet.
A spec sheet on the ExxonMobile site lists the following products: EM DC 3152/3150/315, 3220, 3235 Super, 3250, 1150, and 1210 (AP).
With data centers struggling to keep up with surging demand and higher compute densities, a move to liquid cooling has long been expected. Immersion cooling tanks submerge the data center equipment in a large amount of dielectric fluid, which removes heat more efficiently than air-cooling.
Various immersion cooling fluids are available, and users will have to make a choice based on thermal capacity and physical attributes such as viscosity at various temperatures. Early versions of cooling systems used 3M Novec, a PFAS chemical that has since been withdrawn by 3M.
“Achieving the right balance between heat transfer, flashpoint, and materials compatibility is essential for optimal data center server component performance,” said Alistair Westwood, global marketing manager, ExxonMobil Product Solutions.
ExxonMobil claims that its fluid reduces the total cost of ownership of IT equipment by up to 40 percent compared to air-cooling and improves power usage effectiveness (PUE).
ExxonMobil’s wider environmental credentials are not so good of course. The company became aware of climate change caused by fossil fuel activity in 1981 and for years paid millions of dollars funding studies that denied this.
UN guidance now is that fossil fuel exploration must cease to keep the planet’s temperature at a manageable level, but ExxonMobil is planning to continue expanding fossil fuel production. It has promised to eliminate emissions from all of its production activities by 2050, but takes no responsibility for the vastly higher emissions from the oil and gas it supplies to customers.
Plant-based immersion cooling fluid is available from US food giant Cargill.