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NREL selects partners for new high performance computer data center

6 September 2012

The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has selected HP and Intel to provide a new high performance computer (HPC) system dedicated to energy systems integration, renewable energy research, and energy efficiency technologies. The new center will provide additional computing resources to support research at NREL and expand NREL’s modeling and simulation capabilities.

The $10 million HPC system will reside at the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), under construction on the Golden, Colorado, campus. The HPC’s petascale computing capability (1 million billion calculations per second) is the world’s largest computing capability dedicated solely to renewable energy and energy efficiency research.

The HPC system will be deployed in two phases that will include scalable HP ProLiant SL230s and SL250s Generation 8 (Gen8) servers based on eight-core Intel Xeon E5-2670 processors as well as the next generation of servers featuring future 22nm Ivy Bridge architecture based Intel® Xeon® processors and Intel Many Integrated Core architecture based Intel® Xeon Phi™ co-processors. The first phase of the HPC installation will begin in November 2012, reaching petascale capacity in the summer of 2013.

The HPC data center at NREL is designed to be the world’s most energy efficient, with an annualized average power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.06 or better. The average data center operates with a PUE of 1.91, according to 2009 data from the EPA’s Energy Star Program. This project features a technology, currently under development, that uses water to cool the servers. The “waste heat” from the computer system will be used as the primary heat source in the ESIF offices and lab space. Excess heat can also be exported to adjacent buildings and other areas of the NREL campus.

NREL is the US Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

Source: NREL