3M began promoting a potentially innovative new cooling technology Tuesday that it said is designed for the “data center of the future.”
 
In partnership with Intel Corporation and SGI, Maplewood-based 3M pioneered what it describes as “revolutionary two-phase immersion cooling technology,” which it claims can increase supercomputer efficiency, reduce cooling energy costs by 95 percent, and reduce water consumption for data centers.
 
3M, Intel, and SGI developed a fully functional supercomputer in order to test the new cooling system. The SGI supercomputer, equipped with Intel’s processing hardware, was placed directly into 3M’s “Novec Engineered Fluid” in order to cool the supercomputer.
 
According to 3M, the new cooling technology makes large-scale data center hubs more cost-effective by requiring 10 times less space than conventional air cooling and eliminating “costly” air-cooling infrastructure and equipment.
 
In Twin Cities Business’ “Interview Issue,” 3M’s Chief Intellectual Property Counsel Kevin Rhodes described the company’s Novec fluids as one of its most impactful new technologies, with the potential to have as broad of an impact as 3M’s ubiquitous Post-its. Read the interview here
 
“It enables much tighter component packaging—allowing for greater computing power in less space—and easy access to hardware with no residue,” 3M said in a statement. “In fact, the system can enable up to 100 kilowatts of computing power per square meter.”
 
3M said advanced cooling technologies are more affordable and less complex to build and operate than traditional cooling methods. Additionally, the company said heat can be harvested from the system and reused for other heating or the desalination of seawater.
 
“We applaud [Intel and SGI] for their leadership in helping us find better ways to address energy efficiency, space constraints, and increased computing power in data centers,” Joe Koch, business director for 3M electronics markets materials division, said in a statement. “These advancements are a significant stepping stone in accelerating industry-wide collaboration to optimize computer hardware design.”
 
3M isn’t alone in developing immersion cooling techniques, however. Rochester’s own LiquidCool Solutions has raised around $20 million in order to implement its own electronic cooling equipment. Read more here.
 
Data center projects have been picking up steam in the Twin Cities recently. In October, CenturyLink said it was planning a new Shakopee data center project. At the time, some industry experts said the Twin Cities were “underserved” by modern data centers.

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