Immersion cooling of power electronics

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The ability to precisely control electrical voltages on a large scale has made possible many efficient, powerful innovations, from high-speed electric trains to wind turbines to electric drive motors for everything from heavy earthmoving equipment to personal electric vehicles (EVs). But the equipment that manages this process — including power inverters, thyristors and variable-speed drives — requires high-performance electronic cooling solutions.

At 3M, we developed our 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids to act as excellent immersion cooling working fluids for voltage-changing power electronics applications. These dielectric fluids are safe for contact with electronics and efficiently and uniformly cool power electronics using single-phase or two-phase immersion cooling. They offer wide operating temperature ranges, have excellent materials compatibility and are simple to maintain, making Novec fluid-based immersion cooling an excellent alternative to air, water or oil-cooled systems. And they do all this without compromising worker safety or environmental sustainability. As you develop the electric-powered machines of the future, turn to 3M Novec fluids to help keep them cool.

3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids deliver advanced cooling solutions for power electronics.
Advance powerful innovations with advanced cooling.

The potential of immersion cooling of key power electronics applications

Power electronics move the world forward. 3M has decades of experience cooling power electronics with 3M™ Fluorinert™ Electronic Liquids, and now our next-generation Novec fluids can help keep them cool through simple, efficient, high-performance immersion cooling. With significant advantages over existing cooling methods, consider the potential of Novec fluids to cool future power electronics applications, including:

  • High speed train in modern railway station with people on the platform.
    High-speed rail

    Electric-powered high-speed trains are transforming how people travel long distances safely, quickly and with significantly lower environmental impact than flying or other comparable modes of transport.

  • Earthmoving heavy machinery digging dirt at sunrise.
    Heavy machinery

    Earthmoving equipment can literally move mountains but requires enormous energy and power. This can be delivered efficiently via electric and hybrid drive systems controlled by power electronics.

  • Green field of tall wind turbines with blue sky and fluffy clouds.
    Wind turbines

    Harnessing wind energy requires a complex transformation of mechanical energy — which itself varies with wind speed — into electrical energy suitable for the electric power grid.

  • Offshore platform for oil and gas (petroleum) extraction in the ocean.
    Undersea petroleum extraction

    The bottom of the sea is a challenging environment for power electronics, which are used in high-volume pumps that make petroleum extraction more efficient.

  • Two side-by-side high speed elevator doors with red walls.
    High-speed elevators

    Designers of skyscrapers need to take people to new heights quickly. New high-speed elevators are designed to make living and working in tall buildings more convenient and comfortable.

  • Electric vehicle with battery coolant, recharging its EV battery at a station.

    Electric vehicles rely on efficient, reliable drivetrains that use power electronics to transfer energy from batteries to wheels. This is when thermal management for electric vehicles becomes critical.

Case study: Ultra-fast electric vehicle charging from ITT Cannon with 3M Novec liquid cooling technology

  • Electric vehicle high-power charging system designed by ITT Cannon and cooled by 3M Novec fluid. Image supplied by ITT Cannon.

    As electric vehicles grow in popularity, the demand for widespread, easy to use rapid charging solutions is increasing in parallel. ITT Cannon developed a DC high power charging cable connector system, cooled by Novec Engineered Fluids, that enables a 60-mile charge to be delivered to an electric vehicle in as little as three to five minutes.

    The Novec-based liquid-cooled charging cable connector allows ultrafast charge (500A at 1000V) while minimizing the cable diameter for a flexible, ergonomic system that is as easy for drivers to use as a gas pump. Plus, Novec fluids offer:

    • Low GWP for reduced environmental impact
    • Non-flammable and non-conductive for improved safety
    • Non-corrosive for lower maintenance costs

The power of next-generation cooling solutions

  • The next phase in our decades of power electronics cooling experience

    3M Fluorinert Electronic Liquids have been used for immersion cooling of power electronics for decades, and 3M now can apply that experience to the application of 3M Novec Engineered Fluids as well. Contact us for help choosing which product best meets your specifications and goals.

Novec: A smarter solution than other cooling alternatives

Using Novec Engineered Fluids in the cooling of electronic components offers many advantages over the alternative cooling methods.

  • White fan icon on purple background representing air cooling.
    Novec vs. Air

    Immersion cooling offers more consistent and efficient cooling than air, which allows greater density of electronic components — critical to creating smaller power electronics.

  • White water faucet dripping icon on purple background representing water / aqeous cooling.
    Novec vs. Water

    Using water to cool power electronics requires significant complexity to ensure that the water doesn’t contact the electronics and create a short. Novec Engineered Fluids are dielectric and safe for contact with electronics, simplifying the system.

  • 3 white liquid droplets on purple background representing immersion cooling with oil.
    Novec vs. Oil
    The various oils sometimes used for heat transfer in immersion cooling for power electronics are all flammable at some temperature and leave residue. Novec Engineered Fluids are non-flammable, resulting in greater safety, and leave no residue for easier maintenance.

  • Large green tree in a green field with a clear blue sky.

    All the performance without compromise

    The Novec promise is performance without compromise. Our engineers purposefully developed Novec Engineered Fluids with worker safety and environmental sustainability in mind. These fluids feature:

    • A wide margin of worker safety and non-flammability
    • Low environmental impact, with zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and low global warming potential (GWP), compared with conventional hydrocarbon coolants
    • Strong regulatory compliance — not scheduled for restriction or phasedown

Power electronics cooling tools and resources

Get more information about immersion cooling for power electronics

3M Novec is more than a line of products — we’re people who share your passion for solving problems and improving lives, and our experience in immersion cooling and power electronics means we are uniquely able to help you solve your challenges. Contact us to answer any questions you may have or to get:

  • Help connecting with manufacturers of immersion cooling systems
  • Assistance ordering Novec Engineered Fluids or choosing between Novec fluids and Fluorinert Electronic Liquids
  • Information on purchasing test samples
  • Product data on coolant solutions
  • Application advice and best practices