Korean telco SK Telecom (SKT) is teaming up with liquid cooling specialist Iceotope and lubricant developer SK Enmove to design a new liquid cooling solution for AI data centers.

The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on the new liquid cooling technique.

They will collaborate to deploy precision liquid cooling (PLC) using SK Enmove’s thermal fluid at SKT’s AI data center testbed. The deployment will be designed to demonstrate PLC’s value in cooling efficiency and power savings.

Iceotope liquid cooling technology – Iceotope

While data center hardware has traditionally been cooled using air conditioning and other air-based cooling systems, these consume a large amount of energy and are becoming less effective as rack density increases. High demand for AI systems means data centers are being filled with more powerful components, such as GPUs, which generate more heat than their predecessors.

Liquid is better at dispersing heat than air, so liquid cooling techniques are seen as a possible solution for reducing emissions and potentially cutting energy bills.

As part of the agreement, SKT has also pledged to develop an integrated Coolant Distribution Unit (CDU) to support various liquid cooling systems with the technical support of Iceotope.

“By combining core technologies and capabilities of SKT, Iceotope, and SK Enmove, we expect to develop innovative energy efficiency solutions that can not only help us strengthen our competitiveness in AI data centers, but also put us on the right path towards sustainability,” said Lee Jong-min, vice president and head of future R&D at SKT.

SKT also plans to develop an AI-based autonomous cooling system. It will analyze the temperature and power load in the AI data center and automatically control the supply temperature and flow rate of thermal fluids in the CDUs to increase the operational efficiency of the AI data center.

David Craig, CEO of Iceotope, said: “We are thrilled to be collaborating with SKT and SK Enmove on AI data center innovation and look forward to helping them and their customers to realize energy efficiency in their facilities with our Precision Liquid Cooling solutions.”

SKT announced the signing of the MoU as part of the Mobile World Congress trade show, taking place in Barcelona this week.

Seo Sang-hyuk, vice president and head of e-Fluids B2B business office at SK Enmove, added: “[The] importance of establishing [a] sustainable environment is increasing these days. Through this cooperation, we aim to contribute to the vitalization of the immersion cooling market and solidify our position as an energy-saving company.”