The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the rapid emergence and widespread adoption of game-changing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), and mobility, and growing importance of technologies such as liquid cooling loops, direct-to-chip cooling, cold plates, and immersion cooling. These technologies collectively enable liquid-cooled data centers to effectively manage and dissipate heat generated by high-density computing equipment. In the last three years alone, there have been over 4.1 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environmental sustainability in technology: liquid-cooled data centers. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 1.5 million patents to analyze innovation intensity for the technology industry, there are 190+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Liquid-cooled data centers is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
Liquid-cooled data centers employ liquid, such as water or oil, to cool servers and components, replacing conventional air-cooling methods. This approach offers enhanced efficiency, reduces energy expenses, and safeguards equipment from overheating, thereby prolonging its lifespan.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of liquid-cooled data centers.
Key players in liquid-cooled data centers – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to liquid-cooled data centers
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Dell Technologies is the leading patent filer in liquid-cooled data centers. The company’s patents are aimed at a direct-contact liquid-cooled (DL) rack information handling system (RIHS) that includes liquid cooled (LC) nodes having a chassis received in a respective chassis-receiving bay of the rack and containing heat-generating functional components.
The LC node is configured with a system of conduits to receive direct contact of cooling liquid to regulate the ambient temperature of the node and provide cooling to the functional components inside the node by removing heat generated by the heat-generating functional components.
The chassis has a leak containment barrier configured with a trough that underlays a portion of the system of conduits of the LC node and forms a drain path to a drain port of the chassis. In one or more embodiments, the storage drive carrier has vibration absorbing material that mitigates vibrations of a storage drive placed in the storage drive carrier.
Other prominent patent filers in the space include Asetek and IBM.
By geographic reach, Green Revolution Cooling leads the pack, followed by OVH and Mitsubishi Electric. In terms of application diversity, Gigabyte holds the top position, followed by CoolIT Systems and Asia Vital Components.
Liquid-cooled data centers provide efficient, reliable, and sustainable cooling solutions that can support the growing demands of modern data center infrastructure. By optimizing cooling performance, these data centers contribute to improved operational efficiency, reduced costs, and a more environmentally friendly approach to data center operations.
To further understand how cloud is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Sustainability.