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NETL Shares Computing Speed, Efficiency to Tackle Energy Technology Barriers

March 29, 2012 - 1:00pm

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Washington, DC - One of the world’s fastest supercomputers will be installed at the Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) this summer to help develop solutions to carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology barriers.

NETL's new supercomputer, to be installed at the Simulation-BasedEngineering User Center, is a powerful and energy-efficient modeling tool.Housed at NETL’s Simulation-Based Engineering User Center, a facility primarily devoted to advancing CCUS science and technology -- the new supercomputer will be used to develop and deploy the advanced simulation tools needed to quickly and reliably overcome energy technology challenges.   

Researchers from partnering organizations, such as the five universities that are part of the NETL-Regional University Alliance, will be able to access the supercomputer via user centers at NETL’s Albany, Morgantown, and Pittsburgh locations. The three user centers will also provide advanced visualization hardware and software. This arrangement allows collaborators to simulate phenomena that are difficult or impossible to probe experimentally without the expense of building dedicated supercomputing facilities.

Fittingly, the high-performance supercomputer, which can run simulations to improve power plant efficiency, is itself incredibly energy efficient. Supercomputer performance is usually associated with speed--as in the number of operations the machine can process per second--but equally important for the NETL is minimizing the amount of electrical power the computer consumes, as well as increasing metrics for reliability, availability and usability.

"The new supercomputer at NETL’s Simulation-Based Engineering User Center is an incredibly energy-efficient modeling tool that can cost-effectively run fluid dynamics simulations, molecular dynamics simulations, and other applied energy research," said Dwayne Wirfel of NETL’s Information Technology Division. "The cost for our research partners is minimal, and they get access to world-class computing power tailored to their needs."

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