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New ultra-efficient HPC data center debuts
Date:3/19/2013

Scientists and researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are constantly innovating, integrating novel technologies, and "walking the talk." Since 1982, NREL has won 52 R&D 100 Awards known in the research and development community as "the Oscars of Innovation" for its groundbreaking work.

When it came time for the lab to build its own high performance computing (HPC) data center, the NREL team knew it would have to be made up of firsts: The first HPC data center dedicated solely to advancing energy systems integration, renewable energy research, and energy efficiency technologies. The HPC data center ranked first in the world when it comes to energy efficiency. The first petascale HPC to use warm-water liquid cooling and reach an annualized average power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.06 or better.

To accomplish this, NREL worked closely with industry leaders to track rapid technology advances and to develop a holistic approach to data center sustainability in the lab's new Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF).

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

Next, the NREL team, which included the design firms SmithGroupJJR and the Integral Group, created the most energy-efficient data center it could to house and provide power and cooling to the HPC system. High-voltage (480 VAC) electricity is supplied directly to the racks rather than the typical 208 V, which saves on power electronics equipment, power conversions, and losses. En
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Contact: David Glickson
david.glickson@nrel.gov
303-275-4097
DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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