Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         CONTACT:
December 14, 1999                                  Michael Schneider
                                                   Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
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PSC Regional Partner Becomes National Laboratory

Image of Dynamic Turbine Combustor
This frame from simulations by NETL researchers (rendered by PSC scientist Nick Nystrom) depicts temperature during methane combustion in the NETL Dynamic Turbine Combustor.

PITTSBURGH — On December 10, U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson designated the Federal Energy Technology Center, a research center with joint laboratories in Morgantown, W.V. and Pittsburgh, as the U.S. Department of Energy's 15th national laboratory, renaming it the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Through a regional partnership which includes West Virginia University and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, NETL and PSC will work to develop simulation technologies for cleaner, more efficient use of fossil-fuel to supply the nation's energy needs.

More than 85 percent of U.S. energy comes from fossil fuel, noted Richardson in remarks announcing the new national laboratory, and this will not change significantly for decades. Recognizing this, he said, the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology cites improved efficiency in fossil-fuel combustion as the best opportunity, nationally and internationally, for continuing environmental progress in the 21st century.

"There is just as much opportunity for high-tech innovation in fossil fuels as there is for solar, wind or any other energy resource," said Richardson. "We need to elevate the potential for 'high-tech' fossil fuels to the same stature as other energy resources that capture the public's attention."

Through a research partnership with PSC, the Super Computing Science Consortium, or (SC)2, NETL is using advanced computational simulation to model gas-turbine combustion. Studies have investigated using "lean, pre-mix combustion" of methane for cleaner, more cost-effective power generation. "Let's make this facility known as the place where the idea for the next-generation gas turbine was born," said Richardson, "perhaps designed on the next generation of supercomputers."

Richardson also announced that NETL will lead and consolidate DOE research initiatives in natural gas, expected to dominate the market for new energy for the next 10 to 20 years. The (SC)2 partnership will develop modeling capability to support this effort.

"I want to use the prestige of a national laboratory to stimulate new technology alliances in this region of the country," said Richardson. "Your supercomputing initiative with West Virginia University, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Pittsburgh can be the first of many such partnerships that create a new high-tech corridor in this region."

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is operated by Carnegie Mellon University in consultation with the University of Pittsburgh and with the assistance of Westinghouse Electric Company. It was established in 1986 and is supported by several federal agencies, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and private industry.

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Visit the NETL home page:

Read the news release from NETL announcing the elevation to a national laboratory:

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson's remarks are available on-line:

Read the news release announcing the formation of (SC)2:

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© Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC)
Revised: December 14, 1999

URL: http://www.psc.edu/publicinfo/news/1999/netl_12-14-1999.html