NREL touts new ultra-efficient, high-performance computing data center

By: Steve Tuesday March 12, 2013 0 comments Tags: Golden, HP, Intel, NREL, Steve Hammond

GOLDEN - The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden is now home to the first high-performance computing (HPC) data center dedicated solely to advancing energy systems integration, renewable energy research and energy efficiency technologies, NREL announced.

NREL logoThe facility is part of NREL's new Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF).

"We took an integrated approach to the HPC system, the data center and building as part of the ESIF project," said Steve Hammond, NREL's Computational Science Center director.

"First, we wanted an energy-efficient HPC system appropriate for our workload. This is being supplied by HP and Intel. A new component-level liquid cooling system, developed by HP, will be used to keep computer components within safe operating range, reducing the number of fans in the backs of the racks."

High-voltage (480 VAC) electricity is supplied directly to the racks rather than the typical 208V, which saves on power electronics equipment, power conversions and losses. The data center will also make use of heat generated by the HPC system.

The operation should save up to $1 million in energy costs, NREL said.

Beginning this summer, the data center will require just over 1 megawatt of power to operate.

The $10 million HPC system will support the breadth of research at NREL, leading to increased efficiency and lower research costs, the agency said.

NREL said the new system will greatly expand its modeling and simulation capabilities, including advancing materials research and developing a deeper understanding of biological and chemical processes.

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