NREL Supercomputer Tackles Grid Challenges
"Big data" is playing an increasingly big role in the renewable energy industry and the transformation of the nation's electrical grid, and no single entity provides a better tool for such data than the
"As industry moves forward to integrate all these renewables, big data is a key piece of the puzzle," ESIF Business Development Manager
Asking the Big Questions
"Peregrine provides much-needed computational capability to model complex systems such as the grid, to allow us to ask 'what if' questions, and to optimize how these systems are designed and deployed with much higher confidence in their efficiency and robustness,"
Increasingly, those "what ifs" involve the challenge of delivering distributed energy to the grid when the sun shines and the wind blows, while making it even more reliable than when the grid was a one-way delivery system of fossil-fuel-based energy. "By focusing on the integration and optimization of energy systems across the energy infrastructure, we can better understand and make use of potential co-benefits that increase reliability and performance, reduce cost, and minimize environmental impacts," NREL Director of Energy Systems Integration (ESI) Ben Kroposki said.
This focus will help map the pathway NREL will pioneer with the
Thanks to the capacities of the ESIF and Peregrine, efforts are underway at NREL to move commercial-scale research and development and testing forward. In
NREL isn't working alone, Symko-Davies noted. "Researchers here, coupled with
ESIF and NREL's Partners Work Together
Collaboration is key, and it is hard-wired into the ESIF's core. NREL teamed with
The HP Apollo liquid-cooled supercomputing platform provides the foundation for numerical modeling and simulations, which allow scientists to gain new insights into a wide range of topics. However, as HPC systems scale up by orders of magnitude, energy consumption and heat dissipation stress the supporting systems and the facilities in which they are housed. With NREL's HPC data center, 90% or more of the computer's waste heat is captured and reused as the primary heat source for ESIF offices and laboratory space.
The ESIF truly was designed for partners-and NREL and its world-class facilities have made it known that they are open for business. "We've known that industry was eager for a place like the ESIF, which allows utility companies and investors to see technology working in real time and on a large scale," NREL Director
Given the nature of global climate change, it's vital that the ESIF has a long reach. In a recent joint initiative between the
As demand for the ESIF expands, it helps another key area of growth: commercialization. "When industry and NREL work closely together, great things happen. The abilities of the ESIF allow manufacturers, industry, and the clean energy sector to bring new ideas to market,"
And it appears likely that the ESIF and its HPC capabilities will be in increasing demand in coming years. The word is already out on the one-year-old lab facility, which is home to 200 scientists and engineers-and the editors of
Not surprisingly, the ultra-efficient HPC data center gets the spotlight. It helped NREL earn a 2013
The ESIF and Peregrine model what the future holds for the grid and energy systems, while helping industry and partners find a path to commercializing the technology needed to make that transformation.
That's enough to make an energy secretary smile.
Learn more about energy systems integration (http://www.nrel.gov/esi/) and high performance computing (http://hpc.nrel.gov/) at NREL.
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