A Look Inside Scientific Computing for Clean Energy (Text Version)

This is the text version of the video A Look Inside Scientific Computing for Clean Energy.

This video highlights the advanced computing and visualization technology at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

A clean energy future for all requires shifts in how we create, distribute, consume, and store energy.

At the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, big ideas come from the brilliant thinkers inside the lab, and through collaborations with our partners. We need to translate those big ideas into real-world solutions quickly.

Enter advanced computing. NREL has the most energy-efficient data center in the world, housing the largest supercomputer dedicated to energy efficiency and renewable energy research.

Inside the racks, we’re bringing science to life, transforming ideas into breakthrough solutions. Let’s take a look.

Lithium-ion batteries are currently the state-of-the-art power sources for electric vehicles. But we still have work to do to ensure these batteries are safe, especially in the event of an accident.

Using NREL’s computer simulations and visualizations, we can better understand the physical and chemical changes that happen when batteries are crushed or damaged—an impact that can lead to short circuiting of the battery.

[Animation highlights where short circuits occur within a crushed battery.]

In the simulation, we can see exactly how stresses affect the battery, with hot spots pinpointing short circuiting and the ripple effects. Understanding these reactions can help us design better and safer batteries for electric vehicles now and in the future.

With great ambition and goals for a clean energy future, comes great need for actionable data and analysis, which NREL provided through the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study, also known as LA100.

NREL delivered in-depth analysis to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to show how the city’s goal of reliable, 100% renewable electricity is achievable in the next one to two decades.

[Animated bar graphs and hot spots on a map grow and shrink.]

Brought to life by data visualization, we can see the potential electricity needs of various clean energy scenarios like this one, visualizing the dancing demand as electric vehicles would plug and unplug throughout the city. Or how energy demands ebb and flow with various clean energy sources, such as hydropower or wind, incorporated to the city’s future. With this knowledge, NREL provided L.A. decision makers with crucial information to guide their clean energy future, ensuring they can meet the need for the city’s growing demands for electrification.

This next visualization might blow you away, as we suddenly have the ability to see the invisible.

[A computer-simulated wind turbine with animated air flowing around it and across other turbines.]

NREL’s physics-based calculations create mesmerizing visualizations, to let us see and understand how the air flows in and around wind farms. Watch how air changes and moves around a wind turbine, both at the blade and downstream.

We see how one turbine might affect the next, helping decision makers get the information they need to optimize wind farm location and technology performance. A better designed wind farm means more efficient integration of the generated wind energy into the grid and lower cost for the consumer.

We cannot delay on these urgent energy challenges. We must use advanced computing to develop, scale and implement solutions for all, spanning renewable power, sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, and systems integration.

[Text on screen: Learn more at nrel.gov/computational-science]