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Computational Science and Visualization

Computational science and visualization capabilities at NREL propel technology innovation as a research tool by which scientists and engineers find new ways to tackle our nation's energy challenges—challenges that cannot be addressed through traditional experimentation alone. These efforts will save time and money, significantly improve the likelihood of breakthroughs and useful advances, and reduce risks and uncertainties that are often barriers to industries that wish to adopt new and innovative technologies.

High-Performance Computing

NREL is home to Peregrine—the largest high-performance computing system in the world exclusively dedicated to advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. High-performance computing enables unprecedented large-scale numerical models for study and simulation of material properties, processes, and fully integrated systems that would otherwise be too expensive, too dangerous, or even impossible to study by direct experimentation. With state-of-the-art computational modeling and predictive simulation capabilities, high-performance computing at the Energy Systems Integration Facility will reduce the risks and uncertainty that are often barriers to industry adopting new and innovative technologies, thereby accelerating the transformation or our nation's energy system.


Visualization capabilities at NREL go beyond what is found in a typical utility operations center. With its real-time data stream, state-of-the-art, high-resolution visual imagery can effectively convey information and illustrate research findings to stakeholders. For example:

  • A utility can see the impact of its solar energy systems in a nearby town using data visualization software layered with live energy usage data

  • Innovators and researchers can collaborate on the effectiveness of a grid-connected energy storage device by watching live-streaming data and video feeds from an experiment being conducted in an Energy System Integration Facility laboratory

  • Researchers can collaborate with a remote laboratory to conduct a live experiment in which one portion, such as a simulated electrical distribution system connected to a power electronic converter, is located at NREL and the other portion, such as a home with smart appliances and a residential energy storage device, is located at the partner laboratory.