Sandia wins 2 national technology transfer awards for work with Cray, Stirling Energy Systems

April 28, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Sandia National Laboratories has won two national Federal Laboratory Consortium awards for its efforts to transfer technology to supercomputer manufacturer Cray Inc., and solar energy supplier Stirling Energy Systems, Inc.

The Federal Laboratory Consortium plans to present the Excellence in Technology Transfer Awards in Albuquerque at its national meeting this week. The consortium is a nationwide network of technology transfer professionals at more than 250 federal laboratories and centers and their parent departments and agencies.

"Sandia has always done well in those recognition awards and it's an indication of our ability to transfer technology to industry," said Hal Morgan, senior manager for Industrial Partnerships and Strategy at Sandia.

Sandia and Cray joined forces in 2001 to build the Red Storm supercomputer, the predecessor of the Seattle, Wash.-based company's line of Cray XT supercomputers. In 2009, Jaguar, a Cray XT5 supercomputer housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, won the Gordon Bell Prize for high-performance computing. And, the Franklin supercomputer, a 350-teraflop Cray XT4 system installed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was ranked the 11th fastest in the world the same year.

When the partnership started, there were no commercial supercomputers that targeted complex simulations, said Sudip Dosanjh, senior manager of Computer & Software Systems at Sandia.

Nevertheless, Red Storm's development took about two and a half years, about a year less than the typical vendor schedule.

Peter Ungaro, Cray's chief executive and president, credits Sandia for the speed of the development. "We would have gotten there, but we definitely wouldn't have done it in the timeframe that we got there with Sandia, and we wouldn't have built as good of a product, if we had done it ourselves," he said.

Since introducing the Cray XT line of supercomputers, the company says it has sold more than 1,200 Cray XT cabinets to more than 80 customers worldwide.

The Cray XT line of supercomputers, which uses tens of thousands of processors working in parallel for several weeks on a single problem, has proven effective at solving a wide range of science and engineering problems related to climate change, fusion, material science, nanomaterials, biology and astrophysics.

Sandia's award-winning partnership with the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Stirling Energy Systems (SES) began in 2003 at Sandia's National Solar Thermal Test Facility.

Since then, SES has signed contracts to provide 1.6 gigawatts of solar power from its concentrating solar power system, the SunCatcher™. SES, together with its sister company, Tessera Solar, also is planning to build one of the world's largest solar energy generating projects on about 6,500 acres in southern California. The 750-megawatt Imperial Valley Solar plant is expected to power 562,500 homes in the San Diego area by 2014.

Sandia's technical expertise helped SES drop 4,000-6,000 pounds of steel from a 16,000-pound structure and halved the number of mirrors from 80 to 40, which reduced construction and maintenance costs, said Chuck Andraka, Sandia's lead project engineer. Sandia's improvements in the dish engine control system and in evaluating the interaction between the dish and its mirrors greatly aided this effort.

Sandia also worked with SES to move from a rectilinear to a radial design for the SunCatcher, which is the design being produced today, Andraka said. The collaboration is ongoing.

Steve Cowman, SES chief executive officer, said: "The product has been significantly enhanced and improved by virtue of the collaboration and partnership that we have with Sandia."
Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact: Heather Clark, (505) 844-3511

DOE/Sandia National Laboratories

Related Solar Power Articles from Brightsurf:

Turning streetwear into solar power plants
Researchers at Empa and ETH Zurich succeeded in developing a material that works like a luminescent solar concentrator and can even be applied to textiles.

COVID-19 shutdown led to increased solar power output
As the air cleared after lockdowns, solar installations in Delhi produced 8 percent more power, study shows.

The collective power of the solar system's dark, icy bodies
Two new studies by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder may help to solve one of the biggest mysteries about the dark, icy bodies of the outer solar system: why so many of them don't circle the sun the way they should.

Newer solar power equipment ages better than older units
Utility-scale photovoltaics are the largest sector of the overall solar market within the US and the fastest-growing form of renewable power generation, and this fleet of utility-scale photovoltaic projects is relatively young and hasn't been operating long enough to establish a lengthy history of operational field service.

Solar power plants get help from satellites to predict cloud cover
Cloud cover is often characterized in simple terms, such as cloudy, partly cloudy or clear.

Solar power from 'the dark side' unlocked by a new formula
Most of today's solar panels capture sunlight and convert it to electricity only from the side facing the sky.

Researchers develop a better way to harness the power of solar panels
Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a way to better harness the volume of energy collected by solar panels.

Solar power with a free side of drinking water
An integrated system seamlessly harnesses sunlight to cogenerate electricity and fresh water.

Breakthrough in new material to harness solar power could transform energy
The UToledo physicist pushing the performance of solar cells to levels never before reached made a significant breakthrough in the chemical formula and process to make the new material.

Fighting smog supports solar power
Model calculations by ETH researchers show that if China fought smog more aggressively, it could massively increase solar power production.

Read More: Solar Power News and Solar Power Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to