SK Lubricants announces entry into the thermal management business

SK Lubricants, a subsidiary of South Korea’s SK Innovation, has made an equity investment of $25 million in GRC, an American liquid immersion cooling solution provider for data centres. The investment will accelerate SK Lubricant’s liquid-based thermal management business and execution of its Carbon to Green ESG strategy.

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 centres, driving rapid standardization and commercialization of these systems and increasing their presence and dominance in the market. The companies will also strive to drive awareness and recognition of liquid immersion cooling as the best choice for data centre sustainability and the cornerstone of data centre designs that reduce carbon emissions and ultimately generate carbon credits.

SK Lubricants has strong capabilities in its traditional lubricants business, including base oils and lubricants. Leveraging its capabilities, the company seeks to use premium base oil, Group III in particular, 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 centres, SK Lubricants will further look into different options to make the business of liquid immersion for thermal management more tangible. The company expects that 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 Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Virtual Reality (VR) and the self-driving industries are gaining traction, the high-density data centre 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 data centre liquid immersion cooling pioneer 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 a strong partnership with data centre companies to accelerate mainstream adoption of the technology and expand market share.

“We’re delighted to partner with SK Lubricants. This most recent investment will allow us to expand the important work we are doing to future proof the cooling infrastructure of data centres globally. With the increased attention on data centre 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 centre environment while positively impacting the bottom line,” said Peter Poulin, CEO of GRC.