Castrol is planning to build development and test facilities for immersion cooling technology in an attempt to reduce the amount of energy wasted in data center cooling.
The facilities will also be used to test methods to capture and reuse heat from data center operations to increase efficiency. Castrol, which is a lubricant brand that is part of the BP group, plans to build on an existing partnership with immersion cooling technology company Submer and will install Submer’s SmartPod and MicroPod tank systems that have been adapted to test new fluids and server equipment.
The facilities will be located at Castrol’s headquarters in the United Kingdom and are part of BP’s plans to invest up to more than $56 billion in a battery test center and analytical laboratories at the site. The goal of the project is to accelerate the development of immersion fluid technologies, especially for data center and technology infrastructure.
Data centers are energy-intensive operations, which has led to an increase in efforts to make them more sustainable. According to the International Energy Agency, data centers account for up to 1.5% of the world’s electricity consumption, and the increase in the need for data centers over the past decade has resulted in an increase in data center energy use by up to 30% since 2010. The cooling needed for data centers makes up nearly 40% of their energy use.
Liquid immersion cooling is a process of removing waste heat generated by electronics. It generally reduces the heat through fully emerging hardware in a non-conductive liquid.
Immersion cooling can also help reduce water consumption, which is also significant, Castrol says. Data centers can use up to 5 million gallons of water a day, according to an NBC report.
Submer says the process can reduce a data center’s energy consumption by 50%, reduce cooling operational costs by 95%, and no water waste. The company says its technology also captures and reuses heat for other uses in data center facilities.
Microsoft began using two-phase immersion cooling in 2021 and says the process can reduce the energy use of any given server by up to 15%. LiquidStack recently partnered with Standard Power to build what the companies say is the first large-scale colocation data center in the United States to use two-phase immersion cooling.
The overall rise in green data center efforts has the data center liquid cooling market expected to grow at nearly 27% per year through 2032, according to Persistence Market Research. Additionally, the green data center market is expected to reach $145 billion by 2028, according to Verified Market Research.
Castrol says its project will support the development of advanced and more sustainable fluids for liquid cooling. It will also offer test and validation programs for businesses that need sustainable data center methods.
“Immersion-cooled data centers could bring huge gains in performance and big reductions in energy wasted in cooling,” says Rebecca Yates, BP’s technology vice president of advanced mobility and industrial products.