■ SK Lubricants made an equity investment of $25 million in GRC, an American data center liquid immersion cooling solutions provider
– A signing ceremony for the investment, attended by CEOs of both companies, was held on March 29 at SK Lubricants Americas Headquarters in Houston
– SK Lubricants seeks to use base oil as part of premium coolant solutions. The companies’ research and development collaboration is expected to advance commercialization of liquid immersion cooling systems, and generate carbon credits.
■ SK Lubricants will grow the thermal management business as its “cash cow” in the future, helping businesses reduce power usage and carbon emissions, while helping SK Lubricants commit to its ESG blueprint
■ SK Lubricants said “the high-density data center market is expected to grow rapidly,” and revealed their goal of becoming a thermal management solution provider
■ GRC said, “This most recent investment will allow us to expand the important work we are doing to future proof the cooling infrastructure of data centers globally”
SK Lubricants has made an equity investment of $25 million in GRC, an American liquid immersion cooling solution provider for data centers. The investment will accelerate SK Lubricant’s liquid-based thermal management business and execution of its Carbon to Green ESG strategy.
The Korean company said that on March 29 (US local time), a signing ceremony was held for the investment. The ceremony was attended by CEO of SK Lubricants Cha Gyu-tak, CEO of GRC Peter Poulin, and officials from both companies.
As part of this investment and collaboration, the companies will jointly develop high-grade single phase immersion coolants and liquid immersion cooling systems for data centers, working together to drive rapid standardization and commercialization of these systems and increasing their presence and dominance in the market. Together the companies will also strive to drive awareness and recognition of liquid immersion cooling as the best choice for data center sustainability and the cornerstone of data center designs that reduce carbon emissions and ultimately generating carbon credits.
Liquid immersion cooling solutions are clearly positioned to be the cooling technology of choice for next generation thermal management, delivering high cooling efficiency to data center servers by immersing them in high-performance non-conductive coolant. When compared with conventional chilled air-cooling, liquid immersion cooling can lower total data center power usage by 30% by eliminating most of the energy used for cooling, dramatically reducing power usage and thus reducing carbon emissions as well. The industry is expecting liquid immersion cooling market to grow rapidly because lower power usage leads to an approximately 20% reduction in investment and operating costs compared with air cooling, an obvious advantage that makes the choice of this technology more economically attractive.
* Air-cooling: one of the most commonly used conventional thermal management technologies that circulates cold air around and uses fans to cool data center servers. A disadvantage of air cooling is that due to air’s poor thermal conductivity much more electricity is consumed due to operation of pumps, chillers, and fans compared with liquids cooling solutions.
SK Lubricants has strong capabilities in its traditional business such as base oil and lubricants, which is well demonstrated by its largest market share in the Group III premium base stock market. Leveraging the capabilities, the company seeks to use premium base oil as a premium single-phase immersion coolant to substantially grow its thermal management line of business in the future and to become a liquid-based thermal management solution provider.
With this investment in the liquid immersion cooling technology for data centers, SK Lubricants will further look closely into different options to make the business of liquid immersion for thermal management more tangible. The company expects liquid immersion cooling will help reduce power usage, contributing to carbon emission reduction and enabling it to implement its Carbon to Green ESG strategy.
“As the AI, the VR and the self-driving industries are gaining traction, the high-density data center market is expected to grow dramatically,” said Cha Gyu-tak, CEO of SK Lubricants. “I believe this equity investment in GRC will maximize cooperation between the two companies and help us be the first mover in the market while helping us grow into a liquid-based thermal management solution provider and accelerating the execution of our financial story in the long term.”
GRC is a pioneer in the data center liquid immersion cooling field that has carried out research and development for over 12 years, accumulating business experience, key technologies, and know-how in liquid immersion cooling. As an authority on liquid immersion cooling, GRC owns many patents for the technology and has built strong partnership with data center companies, with a goal of accelerating mainstream adoption of the technology and expanding market share.
“We’re delighted to partner with SK Lubricants, and this most recent investment will allow us to expand the important work we are doing to future proof the cooling infrastructure of data centers globally,” said Peter Poulin, CEO of GRC. “With the increased attention on data center efficiency and more broadly proposed environmental reporting standards for organizations across the globe, the investment will also help GRC contribute to a more sustainable data center environment while having a positive impact on the bottom line.”
(Photo 1) On March 29 (US local tim), CEOs of both companies are taking commemorative photos after the signing ceremony for the stake investment in SK Lubricants Americas Headquarters in Houston. From left: Head of Lubricants Biz. & New Biz. Development Department of SK Lubricants Kim Wone-kee, CEO of SK Lubricants Cha Gyu-tak, CEO of GRC Peter Pauline, and GRC Chairman of the Board of Directors Derek Gordon.
(Photo 2) GRC liquid immersion cooling system