Oil and gas company ExxonMobil is working with Intel to develop new liquid cooling technologies for data centers.

The two firms say the partnership has been set up to “design, test, research, and co-develop energy-efficient cooling fluid solutions” which will be approved for use with systems built on chipmaker Intel’s x86 architecture.

This will potentially help data center customers cut emissions and meet their energy efficiency goals, the duo said.

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ExxonMobil and Intel are working together on data center cooling fluid – ExxonMobil

Jen Huffstetler, chief product sustainability officer at Intel, said: “Our partnership with ExxonMobil to co-develop turnkey solutions for liquid cooling will enable significant energy and water savings for data center and network deployments. Through this collaboration, we are making progress on our journey to sustainable computing for a sustainable future.”

ExxonMobil announced its move into data center cooling fluids in October with a “portfolio of synthetic and non-synthetic fluids” for keeping hardware temperatures down. It plans to further develop its range with the help of Intel.

Sarah Horne, vice president of ExxonMobil, said: “By integrating ExxonMobil’s proven expertise in liquid cooling technologies with Intel’s long legacy of industry leadership in world-changing computing technologies, together we will further the industry’s adoption and acceptance as it transitions to liquid cooling technologies.”

Recent years have seen liquid cooling techniques emerge as a realistic alternative to air cooling for data center operators looking to keep their hardware chilled, particularly for high-density racks used for AI and other power-intensive workloads, which produce more heat than older models.

Several liquid cooling techniques exist, with immersion cooling, where IT equipment is submerged in vats of dielectric, or non-conducting, fluid, requiring products such as those being developed by ExxonMobil. Other oil companies such as Castrol and Shell are also turning their hand to data center cooling with similar product lines.

When launching its cooling fluids, ExxonMobil claimed its fluids could reduce the total cost of ownership of IT equipment by up to 40 percent compared to air-cooling as well as improve the power usage effectiveness (PUE) of facilities. The company itself says it aims to eliminate all emissions from its own production activities by 2050, but continues to invest in expanding fossil fuel production.