U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Clean Cities

DOE Supercomputer Helps Design More Efficient Big Rigs

February 16, 2011

DOE continues to use supercomputers to help push the envelope of energy efficiency and on February 8 reported that BMI Corporation in partnership with DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed a technology that will make semi trucks more fuel-efficient. By using ORNL's Cray XT-5 "Jaguar" supercomputer, BMI was able to shorten the computing turnaround time for its complex models from days to a few hours, and was thereby able to design a set of integrated aerodynamic fairings that improve the aerodynamics of 18-wheeler long-haul trucks. The typical big rig can achieve fuel savings of between 7% and 12% using these systems. BMI's work was supported by the DOE's Office of Science. See the DOE press release.

Also on February 8, IBM announced that DOE's Argonne National Laboratory will use IBM's next-generation Blue Gene supercomputer to enable significant advances in areas such as designing ultra-efficient electric car batteries. A 10-petaflop IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer named "Mira" will be operational in 2012 and made available to scientists from industry, academia and government research facilities around the world. On November 30, 2010, DOE announced the largest ever awards of its supercomputing time on two computers, including the Jaguar, to 57 innovative research projects that are using computer simulations to perform experiments in areas including biofuels and climate change. See the IBM press release and the supercomputing news in EERE Network News.