Intel is not making any immediate changes to its chip road map, but it may need new products to support the cooling technique in the future.
"I don't anticipate that there would be a reduction of circuitry, but there will be changes to platform power and thermal management modules," Patterson said.
Joe Koch, a business director at 3M, likened Novec to a large liquid heat sink. As the server components heat up, properties of the liquid allow it to absorb the heat without becoming superheated itself.
Novec can help CPUs operate at a consistent temperature, which Patterson said can help reduce electrical leakage on chips. Direct-contact cooling may also allow Intel to pack electronics much more densely, he said.
"Sometime in the future we're going to look at 'stacked silicon,' where air cooling just won't work," he said. "Novec is something that can get to 3D stacking."
To test Novec, the companies are also working with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and equipment maker Schneider Electric.
It could be a while before companies are buying immersion-cooled servers, but Intel thinks the technology may have a future.
"We wouldn't have done this if we didn't believe it had potential," Patterson said. "That's why we're taking this to the next step and learning more about Novec."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.