Intel will invest $700 million in a research lab that will improve cooling technology for data centres. It looks at immersive liquid cooling: submerging the device in liquid.
It concerns an R&D lab of 1.86 hectares (200,000 square feet) that Intel is opening in Portland (US) to qualify, test and display its data centre portfolio in combination with various cooling techniques.
At the same time, it proposes a cooling solution and reference design around immersion liquid cooling that can be freely used by others. This was developed by Intel in Taiwan and Intel hopes to deploy it worldwide, but also that other players to join in so that an ecosystem is created.
Today, both ordinary computers and data centres are mainly cooled with air. But cooling is a large part of the energy cost, especially in data centres. Keeping a data centre cool in a natural way (because it is located further north, for example) can often make a big difference to the electricity bill and therefore also to the profitability of a data centre.
What Intel wants to do now is place parts in non-conductive liquids (not water) while they are running. This can be more efficient in removing heat from the appliances and possibly using that heat elsewhere (such as for heating nearby offices or houses). The lab will open at the end of 2023, after which Intel will test its data centre products such as the Xeon and Optane chips, as well as network interfaces, FPGAs and switches.