U.S Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the creation of the Simulation-Based Engineering User Center (SBEUC) that will facilitate collaborative computational research for energy applications. Funded with $20 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the SBEUC will be primarily used for developing and deploying the simulation tools developed under the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Simulation Initiative. Through enhanced ability to predict industrial scale performance, the development of the SBEUC will accelerate the research and development of CCS technologies and support the Administration's goal to overcome the barriers to widespread, cost-effective deployment of CCS within 10 years.

"Today's announcement represents a major step forward in the fight to reduce carbon emissions from coal-based power plants," said Secretary Chu. "This center will not only help fight climate change, it will create new jobs and position the United States as a leader in carbon capture and storage technologies for years to come."

The SBEUC announced today will provide resources in national laboratories to advance the following areas: 

  • Development of a high performance computing user center as a platform for utilization of the advanced simulation tools
  • Accelerating the deployment of industrial carbon capture technology through enhanced ability to predict industrial scale performance
Located at the Department's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the SBEUC will be powered by a high performance computer that will allow researchers to simulate phenomena that are difficult or impossible to probe experimentally. The results from simulations will become accessible through user centers that provide advanced visualization capabilities and foster collaboration among researchers. The SBEUC will be used for developing and deploying simulation tools required for overcoming energy technology barriers quickly and reliably.

Partnership Reflects Administration's Commitment to Develop Cost-Effective CCS Technologies

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced today the creation of the Carbon Capture and Storage Simulation Initiative with an investment of up to $40 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The partnership announced today will bring together national laboratories and regional university alliances to collaborate on advancing the science and research related to carbon capture and storage (CCS). The information gained through the partnership will further the Department's effort to develop lower cost, efficient industrial CCS processes. The collaboration also builds upon the Administration's goal to overcome the barriers to widespread, cost-effective deployment of CCS within 10 years while helping position the U.S. as a leader in the global clean energy race.

"By harnessing the power of science and technology, we can reduce carbon emissions from industrial sources," said Secretary Chu. "This investment is part of our commitment to advancing carbon capture and storage technologies to the point where widespread, affordable deployment can begin in 8 to 10 years.  This partnership will not only help fight climate change, it will create new jobs and position the United States as a leader in carbon capture and storage technologies for years to come," said Secretary Chu.

Using advanced modeling and simulation, researchers will develop science-based methods aimed at lowering the cost of carbon capture while reducing risks associated with its storage.  The efforts by the organizations announced today build upon the efforts of DOE's National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP). The CCS Simulation Initiative will allow NRAP to accelerate the development of a defensible, science-based methodology for quantifying and minimizing potential risks associated with long-term storage of CO2.

The initiative selected today will fund simulation and modeling activities at national laboratories and universities across the country to advance the following areas:

  • Development of validation data for simulations that predict key processes and components associated with capture of CO2 at industrial facilities and with long-term storage of CO2 in geologic reservoirs
  • Development of advanced simulation tools to speed the path from concept to deployment of new methods for capturing carbon dioxide at a variety of industrial facilities
  • Development of a defensible, science-based methodology and advanced simulation tools for quantitative assessment of potential risks associated with long-term storage

The initiative being announced today is:
 
Carbon Capture and Storage Simulation Initiative (Morgantown, W. Va.) -  National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) and NETL's Regional University Alliance (Carnegie Mellon University, Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia University) is partnering with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, Pacific Northwest National Lab, and Lawrence Livermore National Lab to develop validated, predictive simulation tools to accelerate the development and deployment of industrial carbon capture and storage technology. This initiative will develop (1) a comprehensive, integrated suite of validated computational models for accelerating CO2 capture technology development and deployment, and (2) a defensible, science-based methodology and tools that can be used to quantify residual risk and long-term liability at CO2 storage sites post-closure. This project will receive $40 million in funding.

US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has announced the winners of the 2009 E.O. Lawrence Award for their outstanding contributions in research and development supporting the Department of Energy and its missions.  The six winners named today will receive a gold medal, a citation and $50,000.   Winners will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC early next year.

“The contributions made by these researchers to advance the national, economic and energy security of the United States are wide-ranging and meaningful,” Secretary Chu said.  “I congratulate the winners and look forward to their discoveries still to come.”

The Lawrence Award was established in 1959 to honor the memory of Dr. Ernest Orlando Lawrence who invented the cyclotron (a particle accelerator), and after whom two major Energy Department laboratories in Berkeley and Livermore, California are named.

The 2009 E.O. Lawrence Award winners are:

Sunney Xie, Harvard University – Chemistry
Sunny Xie will be honored for his innovations in nonlinear Raman microscopy and highly sensitive vibrational imaging, his scientific leadership in establishing the field of single-molecule biophysical chemistry, and his seminal work in enzyme dynamics and live cell gene expression. Xie is in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University.

Joan F. Brennecke, University of Notre Dame – Environmental Science and Technology
Joan Brennecke will be honored for her seminal work advancing fundamental understanding in supercritical fluids and ionic liquids, and her scientific and technological leadership in discovering new environmentally-benign, green chemistries.

Wim Leemans, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – High Energy and Nuclear Physics
Wim Leemans will be honored for his breakthrough work in developing the laser plasma wakefield accelerator from concept to demonstration, and his scientific leadership exploring its promise and unprecedented possibilities ranging from hyperspectral light sources to high energy colliders.

Zhi-Xun Shen, SLAC National Accelerator National Laboratory and Stanford University – Materials Research
Zhi-Xun Shen will be honored for his ground breaking discoveries and pioneering use of high resolution angle-resolved photoemission to advance understanding of strongly correlated electron systems including high-transition temperature superconductors and other complex oxides.

Omar Hurricane, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – National Security and Nonproliferation
Omar Hurricane will be honored for his scientific leadership to advance understanding in a long-standing nuclear weapons physics anomaly and his contribution to nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship

William Dorland, University of Maryland – Nuclear Technology
William Dorland will be honored for his scientific leadership in the development of comprehensive supercomputer simulations of plasma turbulence, and his specific predictions, insights, and improved understanding of turbulent transport in magnetically-confined plasma experiments.

Read more information about the E.O. Lawrence Award.

Recovery Act Investment to Bolster the Nation’s Scientific Workforce

Underscoring the Obama Administration’s commitment to investing in innovation and research, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that 69 scientists from across the nation will receive up to $85 million in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for five-year research grants as part of DOE’s new Early Career Research Program.  The new effort is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

“This investment reflects the Administration’s strong commitment to creating jobs and new industries through scientific innovation,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.  “Strong support of scientists in the early career years is crucial to renewing America’s scientific workforce and ensuring U.S. leadership in discovery and innovation for many years to come.”

Under the program, university-based researchers will receive at least $150,000 per year to cover summer salary and research expenses.  For researchers based at DOE national laboratories, where DOE typically covers full salary and expenses of laboratory employees, grants will be at least $500,000 per year to cover year-round salary plus research expenses.  Beginning with the next fiscal year, the Department’s Office of Science plans to continue the program, choosing new candidates on an annual basis, and supporting them under annual appropriations.

To be eligible for an award, a researcher must be an untenured, tenure-track assistant professor at a U.S. academic institution or a full-time employee at a DOE national laboratory, who received a Ph.D. within the past ten years.  Research topics are required to fall within the purview of the Department’s Office of Science’s six major program offices:

  • Advanced Scientific Computing Research
  • Basic Energy Sciences
  • Biological and Environmental Research
  • Fusion Energy Sciences
  • High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Physics

Awardees were selected from a pool of 1,750 university- and national laboratory-based applicants.  Selection was based on peer review by outside scientific experts.  Projects announced today are selections for financial award. The final details for each project award are subject to final contract negotiations between DOE and the awardees.

A list of the 69 awardees, their institutions, and titles of research projects is available on the Early Career Research Program webpage.

Recovery Act Projects to Lower Energy Use by Data Centers and Telecommunications Systems

Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that the Department of Energy is awarding $47 million for 14 projects across the country to support the development of new technologies that can improve energy efficiency in the information technology (IT) and communication technology sectors. The data processing, data storage, and telecommunications industries are a crucial part of the American information economy. The rapid growth of these industries has led to an increase in electricity use, but improvements in the sector’s energy efficiency can provide significant energy and cost savings.  The energy efficiency projects announced today will reduce energy use and carbon pollution, while helping to develop a strong, competitive domestic industry.

“These Recovery Act projects will improve the efficiency of a strong and growing sector of the American economy.  By reducing energy use and energy costs for the IT and telecommunications industries, this funding will help create jobs and ensure the sector remains competitive,” said Secretary Chu.  “The expected growth of these industries means that new technologies adopted today will yield benefits for many years to come.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is providing funding for research, development and demonstration projects in three subject areas. Projects may include aspects of more than one topic area.

  • Equipment and Software – These projects will focus on the core components of a data or telecommunications center, such as servers and networking devices as well as software to optimize equipment energy use.
  • Power Supply Chain – These projects will develop technologies to minimize the power loss and heat generation that occurs as electricity moves through the ever growing number of server-based IT and communications systems.
  • Cooling – This effort will seek to demonstrate ways to cool the equipment used in IT and telecommunications work more effectively and with less power than current methods.

The $47 million in federal funds for these projects will be matched by more than $70 million in private industry funding, for a total project value of more than $115 million.

Each project promises significant reductions in energy consumed by information technology and communications systems. One company, Power Assure, Inc., estimates its new power management software, which more efficiently regulates server energy usage by turning servers off and on when needed, could reduce energy use by 50 percent in data centers and large server farms.

Another company, Federspiel Controls, is developing a new dynamic cooling system that employs variable fan speeds, adjustable air inlets and wireless temperature sensors to continually monitor and adjust temperatures. The company estimates conventional static cooling systems now typically consume 25 percent of the energy used in a data center.

Information technology and telecommunications facilities account for approximately 120 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually – or 3 percent of all U.S. electricity use. Moreover, rapid growth in the U.S. data center industry is projected to require two new large power plants per year just to keep pace with the expected demand growth.  Without gains in efficiency, the industry would face increasing costs and greenhouse gas emissions, along with challenges to the reliability of the electricity service.

The below projects have been selected for awards. The lead applicant is listed below. The specifics and final details for each award will depend on contract negotiations between the grantee and the Department of Energy.

Equipment & Software Projects

  • IBM T.J. Watson Research Center ($1.6 million)
  • SeaMicro Inc. ($9.3 million)
  • Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Labs ($300,000)
  • California Institute of Technology ($300,000)

Power Supply Chain Projects

  • Lineage Power Corporation ($2.4 million)
  • BAE Systems ($222,000)
  • Power Assure, Inc. ($5 million)
  • Hewlett-Packard Company ($7.4 million)
  • Columbia University ($2.8 million)

Cooling

  • IBM T.J. Watson Research Center ($2.3 million)
  • Federspiel Controls, Inc. ($584,000)
  • Yahoo! Inc. ($9.9 million)
  • Alcatel-Lucent ($1.8 million)
  • Edison Materials Technology Center ($2.8 million)

Read more information about the grant selections.
 
To learn more about DOE’s industrial energy efficiency efforts, visit the Industrial Technologies Program Web site.

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