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September 16, 2013

NREL Debuts Peregrine Supercomputer

Tiffany Trader

Last week, Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Director Arvizu unveiled Peregrine, the newest Energy Department supercomputer. This innovative warm-water, liquid-cooled supercomputer is housed at NREL in Golden, Colorado, as part of the brand new state-of-the-art Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF).

The new supercomputer and the facility it resides in reflect a new era in energy policy. ESIF is the nation’s first major research facility focused on clean energy grid integration and wide-scale deployment. The center is tasked with helping “manufacturers, utilities, and public and private sector researchers overcome the challenges of integrating clean energy and energy efficiency technologies into today’s energy infrastructure.”

“The Energy Department has been at the forefront of large scale computation and modeling, and new NREL supercomputing capabilities will support the groundbreaking science and innovation we need to address the effects of global climate change and pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future,” stated Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

With over a petaflop of computing capability (1.2 petaflops peak), Peregrine is reportedly the largest HPC resource devoted solely to renewable energy and energy efficiency research. Designed in collaboration with HP and Intel, the supercomputer will be housed in one of the most energy efficient datacenters in the world, with a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.06 or better. The new system will support the large-scale modeling and simulation of material properties, processes and fully integrated systems, setting the stage for breakthroughs in renewable energy technologies.

Supercomputing has the ability to transform research in a way that is just not possible through direct experimentation alone. Between Peregrine and ESIF’s interactive hardware-in-the-loop system, researchers and manufacturers can test their products under real-world conditions. This capability boosts reliability and efficiency and also lowers the cost of fielding clean energy technologies.

The ground-breaking DOE site is part of a comprehensive commitment to clean energy, a national strategy that includes President Obama’s mandate to double renewable electricity generation by 2020. To reach this goal, NREL is working closely with industry, academia, and other agencies, and several projects are already under way.

On the day of Secretary Moniz’ visit, the DOE, NREL and Toyota announced a collaborative research effort focused on integrating electric vehicles into the power grid. The team of scientists and engineers are exploring ways to accommodate the growing number of US vehicles. In another project, NREL is helping the U.S. Army develop the Consolidated Utility Base Energy (CUBE) System. It’s a hybrid power system that provides electricity to forward operating bases. Wyle Labs, the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, is funding NREL to produce a prototype CUBE system and validate its performance, reliability, and potential fuel savings.

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