U.S. Sen. John Hoeven announced that NDSU and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif., have entered into a memorandum of agreement to partner on research and development projects involving high performance computing to develop new technologies for the energy industry and give students access to tremendous educational opportunities. Sen. Hoeven, NDSU President Dean Bresciani, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory director Penrose (Parney) Albright finalized the agreement at a signing ceremony at NDSU Research 1 on Dec. 14.
Hoeven said collaboration between the national lab and NDSU’s advanced computing capabilities through the NDSU Center for Computationally Assisted Science and Technology could lead to increases in energy production and utilization, with improved environmental stewardship.
“Using high-performance computers, NDSU and LLNL will collaborate on research and development projects aimed at boosting energy production from shale formations like the Bakken, which could yield billions of barrels of additional oil,” Hoeven said. “This partnership is one more example of how we’re driving that technology development in North Dakota,” he said.
“The energy challenges of today and tomorrow require new kinds of partnerships to develop and use new kinds of technology,” Albright said. “We look forward to a close partnership with NDSU faculty, staff and students bringing advanced supercomputing to real world problems in fossil energy and sustainability.”
“Collaboration between NDSU and LLNL is expected to include faculty, staff and students on research projects, once funding is secured,” Bresciani said. “This will provide a tremendous opportunity for students to gain experience in the use of advanced supercomputers for science and technology development.”
Potential research may include enhancing productivity for tightly-bound liquid hydrocarbons, such as those found in the Bakken oil shale formation in North Dakota. Other potential research projects could include high-throughput chemical design and development of new, novel materials for energy applications.
“These collaborations provide additional opportunities for faculty and research teams at NDSU to use supercomputing capabilities for research with potential national impact in a variety of areas,” said NDSU Provost Bruce Rafert.
The research partners at NDSU and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory plan to develop and refine high performance computer-based simulators of reservoirs of tightly-bound hydrocarbons such as oil and gas found in shale formations.
In another collaboration, NDSU and the national laboratory plan to seek funding for projects to harness the power of advanced supercomputing to develop new materials and methodologies for robotic-driven rapid experimentation. NDSU has one of the largest laboratories for high-throughput, combinatorial chemistry for polymers, coatings and other materials. The proposed goal is to build new capabilities in computational chemistry and cheminformatics for commercial and industrial applications.
Upon securing funding, the research team plans to design and evaluate potential catalysts for commercial energy applications. Such research may include gas-to-liquid fuel catalysts, gas separations processes and energy conversion. Research may include design of new functional polymers and coatings for energy applications.
“High performance computing represents a critical shift in how research is conducted,” said Philip Boudjouk, vice president for Research, Creative Activities and Technology Transfer at NDSU. “Nationally, there is expected to be an increasing need for interdisciplinary research teams, as well as for scientists who are algorithm and code developers, informatists and for programmers who are scientists. Researchers and students at NDSU will have the opportunity to develop and expand these skills through NDSU’s supercomputing facilities and through this research collaboration with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,” Boudjouk said.
Supercomputing facilities at NDSU provide opportunities and tools for faculty and students to conduct next generation research. “We assist researchers in energy, materials, environment, health, security and in other areas of national research priority,” said Martin Ossowski, director of the Center for Computationally Assisted Science and Technology at NDSU.
NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.