United States: Cargill moves into the bio-industrial business with its plant-based immersion cooling

Sep 26, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Cargill, an American food producer giant and the third largest meat producer in the world, has announced that it has created the world's first plant-based dielectric fluid for immersion cooling fluid in data centers. Named NatureCool 2000, the cooling liquid was designed for the data center and cryptocurrency mining industry and made from 90% vegetable oil, which is reportedly biodegradable in ten days. Cargill reports that its fluid has over 1000x the cooling capacity of conventional air cooling, requires up to 60% less energy for cooling, has 10% higher heat dissipation compared to synthetics, and zero carbon neutral and zero global warming potential (GWP). In addition to these sustainability factors, it is said to have a higher level of fire safety, with a high flash point of 325oC, meaning it doesn't self-ignite.

Commenting on the new product, Kurtis Miller, the Managing Director of Cargill's bio-industrial business, said: "Immersion cooling is the new frontier of technologies that allows for more efficient, higher performing systems that also help make the IT industry more sustainable."

Adding: "In just the last 10 years, data centre power usage has increased from several hundred kilowatts to several hundred megawatts, an over 1,000 times increase. As chip density continues to rise and the amount of data generated seems endless, we need to find more efficient and sustainable ways to operate these complex systems."

Cargill's bio-industrial business has expanded significantly over the last few years, notably with the acquisition of Croda's bio-based industrial business, for $1 billion in 2021. With a portfolio that expands into almost every aspect of global agribusiness, the company has been a controversial corporate behemoth for over a century. Back in the 1930s, it was accused of wartime profiteering, and over the years, it has racked up a damning portfolio of controversies: It has been accused of contributing significantly to deforestation, specifically in Cerrado, displacing indigenous people, using enslaved child laborers to grow its cocoa, polluting waters and poisoning customers, violating numerous US environmental laws, and failing on animal welfare. Yet, it is now rebranding as a sustainability steward in an attempt to transition away from its title as the "Worst Company in The World."

As the giant gets more involved in the data center sector, one would hope that it continues to move past its reputation as a polluter and exploiter, drives forward sustainable innovation in the  industry, and, in line with its sustainability pledges, creates environmental solutions, not more problems. 

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