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Supercomputers for alternative energy sources

FAU researchers are investigating how computers can be used even more effectively for the simulation and investigation of physical systems in energy research such as photovoltaics and geothermal energy, wind farms or fusion energy. (Image: Colourbox)

FAU researchers are helping to improve computer simulations as part of a European centre of excellence

Supercomputers are being used increasingly frequently in top-level research to perform highly-complex simulations. As part of the EU-funded cluster ‘Energy-oriented Centre of Excellence (EoCoE)’, FAU researchers are now attempting to further improve and expand the fields of application of mainframes for the research and development of the global energy supply of the future.

Researchers use supercomputers to generate complex models of reality when conventional approaches in physics, chemistry or engineering have reached their limits. With these ‘digital twins’, researchers can resolve challenging scientific problems where large scale experiments would be either impossible or extremely complex and costly, such as crash simulations or research into long-term climate change.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rüde, Chair of System Simulation and Prof. Gerhard Wellein, head of High Performance Computing at the Regional Computer Centre Erlangen (RRZE) and Professor of High Performance Computing are helping to replace or enhance expensive and lengthy experiments by using computer simulations. As part of the second phase of funding of the EU flagship project EoCoE, they are researching how to improve computer simulations of physical systems in energy research such as photovoltaics and geothermal energy, wind farms or plasma physics for potential use of fusion energy. With their working groups, the FAU researchers are developing complex parallel simulation programmes and are analysing how precise they actually are in order to optimise their efficiency. For example, flow simulations can improve the energy yield of wind farms.

‘FAU has a long tradition and holds a leading international position in research into supercomputing’, says Ulrich Rüde. ‘This is one of the reasons we have been invited to participate in this research into energy’. When asked about the social relevance of the project, Rüde stresses how important the ability to generate energy in an environmentally-friendly way will be for the human race in the future. ‘Our collaboration in EoCoE is no less important from a scientific and theoretical perspective, however. Modern science without the use of supercomputer simulations has become unthinkable’, says the FAU scientist.

Further information:

Professor Ulrich Rüde
Phone: +49 9131 8528924
ulrich.ruede@fau.de