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Shell and Intel team up to advance sustainability of the data center

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Worldwide data center energy consumption continues to increase driven by the insatiable demand for compute supporting AI, HPC, cloud services, network edge, and enterprise workloads.   According to IDC, data center energy consumption is expected to more than double from 2022 to 2027*.  Today, regulations, energy costs and overall consumer sentiment are spurring more efficient approaches to operating data centers.  


As part of Intel’s commitment to sustainable computing, Intel has been improving the energy efficiency and sustainability benefits of its products that go into the data center, including the 4th Gen Intel® Xeon Scalable Processor and Intel Gaudi Processor families.   But Intel’s efforts go beyond processors— to the entire data center to achieve a more sustainable, net zero carbon emissions future—even as compute demands are skyrocketing.  One technology, immersion cooling, can significantly change the energy efficiency of a data center (measured via Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)) and will be critical to enable a net-zero future.


Standard data center air cooling uses circulated air to dissipate heat away from server components, but is energy intensive due to the great power consumed by the fans and air conditioning units.  A more efficient solution is immersion cooling which involves fully submersing computer components in a thermally conductive, electrically non-conducting (dielectric) coolant.  Immersion cooling keeps server components cool in an efficient way by reducing energy consumption and lowering GHG emissions as fans in the servers, chillers, and even entire HVAC infrastructure are eliminated from the data center.


I’m excited that Shell and Intel are working together to increase adoption of immersion cooling that includes advanced Intel lab testing of new Shell Immersion Cooling Fluids.  These fluids are formulated with Shell’s proprietary gas-to-liquid (GTL) technology that converts natural gas to high-quality synthetic liquid products – a technology that’s the product of almost a half a century of research and development— and designed to maximize the energy efficiency and performance of data servers and information technology (IT) components.


Through Intel’s Advanced Data Center Development Labs rigorous testing of these fluids, we hope to increase the adoption of liquid and immersion cooling by raising end customer confidence with real test results and innovation.   Whether it’s Shell’s own Intel-based HPC cluster immersed in Shell fluid or new examples of servers being immersed, Intel and Shell are excited to collaborate on helping transform the power-hungry data center into an energy efficient sustainability center of excellence.


*IDC forecasts a steep climb in data center energy consumption, partially driven by generative AI, anticipating growth from 382TWh in 2022 to 802TWh by 2027. 

Source IDC, July 2023, ID#US51013223 -Generative AI: Implications for the Data Center 

About the Author
Jen M. Huffstetler is Chief Product Sustainability Officer and VP/GM of Intel Future Platform Strategy and Sustainability. In this role, she is responsible for driving the integration and execution of the corporate-wide Intel Platform technologies & business strategies to drive future growth and corporate-level product strategy and action for Sustainability. Jen joined Intel in 1996 as a fab process engineer and has spent most of her career applying her extensive technical and business experience to lead strategy, product management, and product marketing efforts for a number of core Intel businesses. Most recently she led Data Center Platform Strategy, responsible for building and executing cross-corporate Cloud to Edge technical and business strategies, incubating new services, and driving Xeon Business Management and Operations. Jen holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from MIT, and an MBA from Babson College, F.W. Olin Graduate School in Corporate Entrepreneurship.
1 Comment

Jennifer, thank you for your leadership and support for Shell for the past few years.  You were an early believer in what Shell and Intel can do together.  Thank you