Home Technology Breakthrough in harvesting of “blue energy” wins award

Breakthrough in harvesting of “blue energy” wins award


THUR, DECEMBER 06 2018-theG&BJournal-The HPCwire Award for the “Best Use of HPC in Energy” was this year presented to a group of researchers who have made major breakthroughs related to the harvesting of “blue energy”. The same technology can also be used as an efficient way to desalinate water.

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. 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.

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. When run in reverse this technique is also an efficient way to desalinate water in a process known as capacitive deionisation.

The project was carried out using the MareNostrum supercomputer in Barcelona and the Curie supercomputer near Paris. Find out more about it here.

The success of this research has been recognised with the presentation of the HPCwire Award for the “Best Use of HPC in Energy”. 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.

“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,” said PRACE Managing Director Serge Bogaerts.

“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,” says Benjamin Rotenberg, CNRS senior scientist.

The coveted annual HPCwire Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards are determined through a nomination and voting process with the global HPCwire community, as well as selections from the HPCwire editors. The awards are an annual feature of the publication and constitute prestigious recognition from the HPC community. These awards are revealed each year to kick off the annual supercomputing conference, which showcases high performance computing, networking, storage, and data analysis.

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