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How supercomputing can help improving the energy sector

Industry is one of the pillars of the European economy; the manufacturing sector in the European Union accounts for 2 million enterprises, 33 million jobs and 60% of productivity growth, according to the European Commission (EC). Recent studies estimate that the digitalisation of products and services could add more than €110 billion in annual revenue in Europe over the next five years and have firmly established the link between HPC and industrial competitiveness. 97% of industrial companies using HPC consider it essential for their ability to innovate, compete and survive.

HPC is at the core of major advances and innovation in the digital age. For example, the design of the Airbus A380 used aerodynamic simulation and HPC so that the aircraft is able to carry twice as many passengers for the same noise level, using less than 3 litres of fuel per person per 100 km and emitting less than 75g of CO2 per person per km.

Europe is a leader in the use of HPC-powered applications: the users of HPC systems and applications in Europe include industrial sectors such as oil and gas, which accounts for €440 billion of the EU GDP and 170,000 jobs.

The HPC for Energy project aims to apply new exascale HPC techniques to energy industry simulations, customizing them if necessary, and going beyond the state-of-the-art for different energy sources that are the present and the future of energy: wind farm design and energy production, efficient combustion systems for biomass-derived fuels, and exploration geophysics for hydrocarbon reservoirs.

Energy consumption has a strong social impact, due not only to the total amount of energy consumed but also to the quality of this consumed energy. Worldwide energy demand will increase year on year, but at the same time it is clear that carbon emissions must be reduced. This dilemma can be solved only if the proper technology is made ready to allow improving the use of renewable energy sources.

HPC for Energy, aware of these constraints and opportunities, and with the aim at fostering the use of HPC in industry, sponsored the 7th International Industrial Supercomputing Workshop, held at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center on 22-23 September 2016.

The agenda of the Workshop (PDF) included an update on industrial HPC programmes worldwide and a session focused on the use of HPC in industry with presentations by several different industrial sectors.

The conclusions of the event included the need for a complete and deep study of the Return On Investment (ROI); the importance of finding a suitable business model for collaboration between HPC centres and industry; and the need to reconfigure the HPC services offered by centres given that the uses of HPC have evolved in recent years.

HPC for Energy project
Barcelona Supercomputing Center

 

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