DOE's HPC for manufacturing seeks industry proposals to advance energy technology

Sept. 8, 2016
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By using high performance computing combined with advanced manufacturing and additive manufacturing, researchers can design and build new devices and materials with unique physical and microstructural properties. Shown above is a computer rendering of an octet truss that was produced by microstereo lithography and has high stiffness and low density. The structure was designed from mechanical theory. (Download Image)

DOE's HPC for manufacturing seeks industry proposals to advance energy technology

Don Johnston, johnston19@llnl.gov, 925-423-4902

LIVERMORE, Calif. - 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.

The High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program currently supports 29 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. This is the third round of funding for this rapidly growing program.

The partnerships use world-class supercomputers and the science and technology expertise resident at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which leads the program, and partner laboratories Lawrence Berkeley (LBNL) and Oak Ridge (ORNL) national 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. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is now, for the first time, poised to provide additional computing resources for HPC4Mfg. 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.

"The response from U.S. manufacturers indicates growing recognition that high performance computing can provide a competitive edge," said Peg Folta, an LLNL mathematician and director of the HPC4Mfg program. "Companies we're working with are finding value in both the access to supercomputing resources and the expertise to apply them to manufacturing challenges."

Concept proposals from U.S. manufacturers seeking to use the national labs' capabilities can now be submitted to the HPC4Mfg program. The program expects that another eight to 10 projects worth approximately $3 million will be funded. Applications are due Oct. 14.

HPC is showing potential in addressing a range of manufacturing and applied energy challenges of national importance to the U.S. Past HPC4Mfg solicitations have highlighted energy intensive manufacturing sectors. But this time the focus has expanded to include challenges identified in the Energy Departments' 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR), with a special focus on advances in HPC as a platform of enabling information technology for innovation and manufacturing. In doing so, DOE seeks to grow the HPC manufacturing community, by enticing HPC expertise to the field and adding to a high tech workforce, and enabling these scientists to make a real impact on clean energy technology and the environment.

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 fall, with final selections to be announced in March. 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 funded 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. HPC4Mfg currently supports $11.4 million for 29 projects with 23 companies and three national labs. The program's portfolio includes small and large companies representing a variety of industry sectors.

HPC4Mfg recently announced the selection of 13 new projects including: LLNL partnering with GE Global Research to study how to mitigate defects when 3D printing metal parts; the Alzeta Corporation partnering with LBNL to reduce emissions from semiconductor processing that could potentially harm the ozone layer; and Actasys, Inc. partnering with ORNL to decrease the fuel consumption of tractor trailer trucks by actively modifying their aerodynamics to reduce drag.

The program has funded 16 projects ranging from improving turbine blades for aircraft engines to reducing heat loss in electronics to improving fiberglass production.

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