June 12, 2017
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DOE's HPC for Manufacturing Program seeks industry proposals to advance energy tech

Jeremy Thomas, thomas244 [at] llnl.gov, 925-422-5539

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) High Performance Computing for Manufacturing Program, designed to spur the use of national lab supercomputing resources and expertise to advance innovation in energy efficient manufacturing, is seeking a new round of proposals from industry to compete for $3 million.

Since its inception, the High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) Program has supported projects partnering manufacturing industry members with DOE national labs to use laboratory HPC systems and expertise to upgrade their manufacturing processes and bring new clean energy technologies to market. The program's portfolio includes small and large companies representing a variety of industry sectors. This is the fourth round of funding for this rapidly growing program.

The partnerships use world-class supercomputers and the science and technology expertise resident at the national laboratories, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which leads the program, principal partners Lawrence Berkeley (LBNL) and Oak Ridge (ORNL) national laboratories and other participating laboratories. An HPC expert at each lab teams up with U.S. manufacturers on solutions to address challenges that could result in advancing clean energy technology. By using HPC in the design of products and industrial processes, U.S. manufacturers can reap such benefits as accelerating innovation, lowering energy costs, shortening testing cycles, reducing waste and rejected parts and cutting the time to market. For more information about the program, see the web.

"U.S. manufacturers from a wide array of manufacturing sectors are recognizing that high performance computing can significantly improve their processes," said Lori Diachin, an LLNL mathematician and director of the HPC4Mfg Program. "The range of ideas and technologies that companies are applying HPC to is expanding at a rapid rate, and they are finding value in both the access to supercomputing resources and the HPC expertise provided by the national laboratories."

Concept proposals from U.S. manufacturers seeking to use the national labs' capabilities can be submitted to the HPC4Mfg Program starting June 12. The program expects another eight to 10 projects worth approximately $3 million in total will be funded. Concept paper applications are due July 26.

HPC is showing potential in addressing a range of manufacturing and applied energy challenges of national importance to the United States. The HPC4Mfg Program releases biannual solicitations as part of a multiyear program to grow the HPC manufacturing community by enticing HPC expertise to the field, adding to a high-tech workforce, and enabling these scientists to make a real impact on clean energy technology and the environment. Past HPC4Mfg solicitations have highlighted energy intensive manufacturing sectors and the challenges identified in the Energy Department’s 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review. In this solicitation, the program continues to have a strong interest in these areas and are adding a special topic area of advanced materials.

A number of companies and their initial concepts will be selected and paired with a national lab HPC expert to jointly develop a full proposal this summer, with final selections to be announced in November. Companies are encouraged to highlight their most challenging problems so the program can identify the most applicable national lab expertise. More information about the HPC4Mfg Program, the solicitation call and submission instructions can be found on the web.

The Advanced Manufacturing Office within DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy provided funding to LLNL to establish the HPC4Mfg Program in March 2015. The Advanced Scientific Computing Research Program within DOE's Office of Science supports the program with HPC cycles through its Leadership Computing Challenge allocation program. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) also provides computing cycles to support this program.

HPC4Mfg recently announced the selection of new projects as part of a previous round of funding, including: LLNL and ORNL partnering with various manufacturers (Applied Materials, GE Global Research and United Technologies Research) to improve additive manufacturing processes that use powder beds to reduce material use, defects and surface roughness and improve the overall quality of the resulting parts; LBNL partnering with Samsung Semiconductor Inc. (USA) to improve the performance of  semiconductor devices by enabling better cooling through the interconnects; Ford Motor Company partnering with Argonne National Laboratory to understand how manufacturing tolerances can impact the fuel efficiency and performance of spark-ignition engines; and NREL partnering with 7AC technologies to model liquid/membrane interfaces to improve the efficiency of air conditioning systems. In addition, one of the projects, a collaboration among LLNL, the National Energy Technology Laboratory and 8 Rivers Capital to study coal-based Allam cycle combustors will be co-funded by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy.

Additional information about submitting proposals is available on the FedBizOps website.