News Release

Release Date: November 23, 2016

NETL Partners in High-Performance Computing Projects Target U.S. Scientific and National Security Priorities


Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will team with two prestigious national laboratories and a major research university to execute two strategic computing projects aimed at meeting the scientific and national security mission needs of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

DOE’s Exascale Computing Project, a multi-year effort to maximize the benefits of high-performance computing for U.S. economic competitiveness, national security, and scientific discovery, selected NETL and its partners at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and the University of Colorado for two projects focusing on exascale computing research work. DOE announced a $39.8 million investment in 22 first-round projects in September.

A component of President Obama’s National Strategic Computing Initiative, the Exascale Computing Project is a collaborative effort between DOE’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Exascale computing systems are capable of a quintillion (that’s a billion billion) calculations per second—50 to 100 times faster than the most powerful supercomputers in use today.

NETL, LBNL, and the University of Colorado will receive nearly $4 million in seed funding over 3 years to enable NETL’s suite of multiphase computational fluid dynamics codes—known as MFIX—to run on exascale computing systems. MFIX is currently used by more than 4,000 researchers to solve problems in areas including coal gasification, carbon capture, chemical looping combustion, nuclear waste cleanup, silicon production, nuclear fuel particle coating, polyethylene reactors, and volcanology.

Exascale computers will enable high-fidelity MFIX simulations of devices such as chemical-looping reactors used in emerging carbon capture technologies. The simulations will help to reduce the risks, costs, and time required for scaling up laboratory designs to industrial sizes, as well as transition MFIX into the next era of high-performance computing.

A second multi-lab Exascale project with NETL, LBNL and LLNL is a project to develop a subsurface simulator. Subsurface geologic structures are key environments for carbon storage, enhanced oil recovery, shale gas, and other energy extraction and storage processes. Subsurface processes occur at a variety of scales—ranging from nanometer scale for chemical reactions within tiny pore spaces in rock to kilometer scale for large oil reservoirs—which makes them extremely challenging to accurately model. This four-year, $10 million project will help researchers address this challenge by creating the capability to model such coupled processes in a way that is unavailable to today's researchers.

Leadership of the Exascale Computing Project comes from six DOE national laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. Read the entire award announcement from the DOE Office of Science website here.