The Cray XT line of supercomputers, which uses tens of thousands of processors working in parallel for several weeks on a single problem, has proven effective at solving a wide range of science and engineering problems related to climate change, fusion, material science, nanomaterials, biology and astrophysics.
Sandia's award-winning partnership with the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Stirling Energy Systems (SES) began in 2003 at Sandia's National Solar Thermal Test Facility.
Since then, SES has signed contracts to provide 1.6 gigawatts of solar power from its concentrating solar power system, the SunCatcher. SES, together with its sister company, Tessera Solar, also is planning to build one of the world's largest solar energy generating projects on about 6,500 acres in southern California. The 750-megawatt Imperial Valley Solar plant is expected to power 562,500 homes in the San Diego area by 2014.
Sandia's technical expertise helped SES drop 4,000-6,000 pounds of steel from a 16,000-pound structure and halved the number of mirrors from 80 to 40, which reduced construction and maintenance costs, said Chuck Andraka, Sandia's lead project engineer. Sandia's improvements in the dish engine control system and in evaluating the interaction between the dish and its mirrors greatly aided this effort.
Sandia also worked with SES to move from a rectilinear to a radial design for the SunCatcher, which is the design being produced today, Andraka said. The collaboration is ongoing.
Steve Cowman, SES chief executive officer, said: "The product has been significantly enhanced and improved by virtue of the collaboration and partnership that we have with Sandia."
|Contact: Heather Clark|
DOE/Sandia National Laboratories