Vestas? new supercomputer will improve wind energy

One hundred and fifty trillion calculations per second. That is the mind-boggling performance that Vestas’ new supercomputer, nicknamed “Firestorm”, will be able to deliver to Vestas Technology R&D, Plant Siting & Forecasting department starting this week.

Firestorm consists of 1,222 connected IBM computers, each with 12 cores and is among the most powerful in the world.

After months of cooperation with Group IT, Plant Siting & Forecasting are now ready to start using the new supercomputer.

Plant Siting & Forecasting in Technology R&D will use Firestorm to determine various factors; the best position for each individual turbine in a customer’s project, weather forecasts and predicting the output of the operational wind power plant on an hour to day-ahead basis.

Improved prognosis

“The new supercomputer will allow us to make significantly more accurate models to benefit the customers. Basically, if you give me the coordinates for your back yard, we can dive into our modeled wind libraries and provide you with precise data on the weather over the past 11 years, thereby predicting future weather and delivering power production prognosis,” says Senior Specialist Anders Rhod Gregersen, Plant Siting & Forecasting.

For customers, the detailed models mean greater business case certainty, quicker results and increased predictability and reliability. The models targets are to lower warranty costs, enhance lost production factor figures and provide more accurate production estimates for a given site.

The wind flow over the site is modelled very precisely, so that the wind regime and turbulence near each wind turbine are known. This in turn is key to driving down the cost per kilowatt hour produced, explains Gregersen.

Avoiding turbulence
“Today, more and more sites are in complex terrain. Turbulence is a big factor at these sites, as the components in a turbine operating in turbulence are under more strain and consequently more likely to fail. Avoiding these pockets of turbulence means improved cost of energy for the customer.”

The new supercomputer is located in Denmark, where it replaces its less powerful and less energy-efficient predecessor.

Facts about Firestorm

– The supercomputer has a total of 14,664 cores.
– Storage capacity is 2.6 petabyte formatted disk space one petabyte equals approx. 13 years of High Definition TV.
– The performance of supercomputers is measured in teraflops based upon the Linpack benchmark test. Vestas’ new supercomputer will deliver more than 150 teraflops, equivalent to 30 million calculations per Danish citizen per second.