Rochester firm has cool solution

Jeff Kiger – July 28th, 2017

Leaders of a Rochester technology firm believe they have “a very big solution to a very big problem.”

CEO Herb Zien says LiquidCool Solutions “can pretty much cool electronics of any shape or size” through submerging circuit boards in liquid and eliminating the use of power-hungry fans.

U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in association with Wells Fargo recently found that LiquidCool’s servers reduce data center power usage by 40 percent compared to using traditional fans and air conditioning. That’s significant, because studies have estimated that data centers account for the 2 percent of all energy use in the U.S.

“Fans are terrible. They don’t make sense to cool computers, and they never did,” he said.

Improving performance and reducing energy use through immersing circuitry in dielectric fluid has always been at the core of the Rochester company, though the focus has evolved in the past 10 years.

LiquidCool Solutions, based at 2717 U.S. 14 West, was founded in 2007 by Chad Attlesey, Daren Klum and Scott Littman under the original name of Hardcore Computing. It was led by CEO Al Berning. The company began with seven patents for its revolutionary technology. It started out by making custom desktop computers for video gamers with aggressive names like Reactor and Detonator, but that really never caught on with customers.

Hardcore shifted creating desktop workstations and then servers. The latter attracted interest from data centers. In 2012, the company rebooted and changed its leadership as well as its name.

Now LiquidCool is finding success in the much less sexy markets of data centers and rugged machines for for use in extreme heat conditions. The firm has expanded its intellectual portfolio to 30 patents with 16 more pending.

A big boost is coming from having its cooling results tested and confirmed by a trusted source like NREL. That happened because LiquidCooling was accepted into Wells Fargo’s Innovation Incubator program to create clean, smart building technologies.

Zien sees LiquidCool growing in the coming years as more customers adopt its technology. The Rochester development and prototype lab has 13 on staff. Much of the technology is manufactured nearby at Benchmark Electronics’ facility.

“There’s a lot of talent in Rochester. It’s our inclination, for a whole lot of reasons, to stay and grow in Rochester,” he said.

LiquidCool is currently closing on $6.5 million in financing, which is hoped to be the final round of of external funding it needs.

While its hard to predict the future, Zien said he could see the Rochester site “doubling” in size of more.

“What’s going on in that little shopping mall in Rochester is a very, very big deal,” he said. “We always knew the technology being developed in Rochester was really groundbreaking.”