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Breakthrough in harvesting of ‘blue energy’ wins HPCwire Award

The HPCwire Award for the ‘Best Use of HPC in Energy’ was presented to a group of researchers from PRACE, BSC and GENCI

| | Dec 6, 2018 | 3:44 pm
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San Diego, California, USA, 6 December 2018: Blue energy – the free energy lost when salty sea water and less salty river water meet and mix in estuaries – could become a significant source of global electricity in the future, said HPCwire in a Press communiqué. Capacitive mixing – an up-and-coming technique that exploits the charge-discharge cycle of capacitors – can be used to harvest this energy, but optimising devices for this is no easy task, the communiqué said.

The success of this research has been recognised with the presentation of the HPCwire Award for the ‘Best Use of HPC in Energy’, the communiqué said. The prize was jointly presented to PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe), the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC) and French supercomputing organisation GENCI, at the 2018 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC18), in Dallas, Texas, USA, the communiqué further said.

Researchers in France, led by Benjamin Rotenberg of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Sorbonne Université in Paris, have shown that molecular simulations can realistically predict the capacitance of devices that contain nanoporous carbon materials as the electrodes and salty water as the electrolyte, the communiqué said. When run in reverse, this technique is also an efficient way to desalinate water, in a process known as capacitive deionisation, the communiqué further said. The project was carried out using the MareNostrum supercomputer in Barcelona, Spain, and the Curie supercomputer near Paris, the communiqué added.

Serge Bogaerts, Managing Director, PRACE, said: “PRACE is pleased to receive this prestigious award from the readers of HPCwire. Supporting pioneering research, which has a significant impact to our society and strengthens European competitiveness, is one of our main priorities.”

Benjamin Rotenberg, senior scientist, CNRS, said: “We are very happy to receive this award as it is rewarding an initiative, which has brought together physicists, chemists and HPC engineers. We can now simulate much more complex systems because our code is adapted not only to the GENCI French supercomputers, but also to European supercomputers, such as the one in Barcelona.”

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