The Super Computing Science Consortium, 2008

Pennsylvania-West Virginia partners in
development of clean power technologies.

PHOTO:: Clean

PHOTO: : Lynn Layman and Bob Romanowsky

(SC)2 co-chairs Lynn Layman, PSC (left) and Bob Romanosky, NETL

Formed in 1999 and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Super Computing Science Consortium is a regional partnership of research and educational institutions in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. (SC)2 provides intellectual leadership and advanced computing and communications resources to solve problems in energy and the environment and to stimulate regional high-technology development and education.

Through (SC)2, Evergreene Technology Park in Greene County provides a resource that supports and encourages companies to collaborate with local universities in southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia and to have access to PSC.

Since the spring of 2000, a high-speed network — the first fiber-optic service to Morgantown, West Virginia — has linked the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) campuses in Morgantown and Pittsburgh with PSC, facilitating NETL collaborations. Researchers at NETL and WVU have actively used this link to tap PSC computational resources.

High-Fidelity Simulation of Turbulent Combustion

Life in the 21st-century runs on electricity, which comes from turbines — jet engines bolted to the floor. In gas turbines, combustors ignite fuel and blast hot, pressurized gas to do the turning work that produces megawatts of electricity. High efficiency — as complete as possible conversion of raw energy into turbine rotation — is the key not only to low emission of pollutants, but also to the cost of electricity. Small gains that slightly reduce cost per megawatt translate to huge savings overall, and turbine engineers measure efficiency in tenths of a percent.

“High-fidelity simulation methodologies are indispensable to modern gas-turbine design,” says Peyman Givi, William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) at the University of Pittsburgh. “Turbine engineers face significant challenges to meet performance targets and emission standards.”

Turbulent combustion and propulsion predictions with (a) direct numerical simulation (DNS), (b) large-eddy Simulation (LES), and (c) Reynolds average simulation (RAS). Currently RAS is most commonly employed in industry, but its range of validity is limited. DNS is the most detailed, but is too computationally demanding for most realistic engineering problems. LES is a compromise between the two and provides excellent reliability and applicability. NASA has applied LES/FDF to research on hyper-velocity propulsion, and gave the NASA Public Service Medal to Givi for developing this method.

The MEMS department at Pitt has long been a leader in research on gas turbines, and through (SC)2, Givi uses PSC resources to develop methods for realistic simulation of gas-turbine combustion. His group has implemented a proven numerical method, large-eddy simulation (LES), with an improvement called the filtered-density function (FDF). “FDF is a novel means of implementing LES in combustion systems,” says Givi. “The primary advantage is that it accounts for the effects of subgrid-scale chemical reactions in an exact manner, regardless of the speed of reaction.”

Givi’s team has used PSC’s BigBen, Rachel and Pople to address some of the most demanding problems in turbulent-combustion modeling. Givi cites crucial support from PSC scientist Raghurama Reddy. His group has applied LES/FDF to complex geometries along with realistic combustion-chemistry models. This approach is computationally expensive and has presented a serious challenge in parallel scalability. “Recently,” says Givi, “we have innovated a parallelization strategy that overcomes the performance bottlenecks, and we have demonstrated scalability to massively parallel architectures. With this development, LES/FDF has proven to be a major tool for prediction of engineering combustion problems.”

Keystone Innovation Zone

Byron Stauffer, executive director, Indiana Country Office of Planning and Development, welcomes participants in the KIZ event held on June 4 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Don Chappel, executive director, Greene County Industrial Development Authority, delivers welcoming remarks at the June 11 KIZ outreach event at Waynesburg.

The Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) program is a Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development initiative focused on college and universities and their surrounding areas. KIZ’s provide tax incentives and funds to generate job creation through technology transfer and entrepreneurship.

PSC helped to organize two KIZ outreach efforts in June. The first, June 4 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), was supported by the Indiana and Johnstown KIZs. Approximately 15 people from small businesses heard presentations on NETL licensing and tech-transfer opportunities, grant opportunities at PSC, Pennsylvania funding for small business IT projects and KIZ tax credits. Another outreach event, June 11 at the Waynesburg Center for Research and Economic Development, drew 44 participants.

PSC & (SC)2: Research for Clean Energy

Since the 1999 founding of (SC)2, 51 (SC)2 researchers have used PSC systems for a range of clean-energy related projects, using more than 5.4-million hours of computing time, over 500,000 hours within the past year.

This work includes: