The Heavy Vehicle Aerodynamic Drag Project, led by Kambiz Salari, has been awarded a High-Performance Computing (HPC) Innovation Excellence Award for its use of modeling and simulation to find practical ways to reduce aerodynamic drag and improve the fuel efficiency of tractor trailers.
The award was announced at the 2011 International Supercomputing Conference, held in June in Hamburg, Germany. Criteria for the award include showcasing HPC success stories, demonstrating the value of HPC to funding organizations and garnering public support for investment in HPC. Work by Kambiz and team—recently featured in Businessweek —achieved improvements that boost fuel efficiency by 17%, translating into 6.2 billion gallons of diesel fuel saved (worth $24.2 billion at $3.91 per gallon) and 63 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions avoided each year. Using virtual testing, the team reduced aerodynamic drag and designed an integrated tractor trailer and low-resistance, wide-base single tires. The HPC approach also sped up testing and reduced costs by eliminating the need for prototypes. Concepts that passed virtual testing were then evaluated in full-scale wind-tunnel and track tests in collaboration with Navistar and NASA’s Ames Research Center.
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