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Oak Ridge improves lorry performance

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BMI, an engineering firm specialising in aerodynamic testing, cad design, manufacturing and laser scanning, has successfully developed a technology in partnership with the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to make articulated lorries more fuel efficient, potentially saving millions of gallons of fuel. The company’s work with Oak Ridge was made possible through ORNL's Industrial High-Performance Computing Partnerships Program, supported by the Department's Office of Science. Through this, BMI accessed ORNL's Cray XT-5 ‘Jaguar’ supercomputer, which has a theoretical peak computational capability of 2.3 Pflops.

The use of Jaguar shortened computing time for BMI's complex models from days to a few hours and eliminated the need for costly and time-consuming physical prototypes. The company designed a SmartTruck UnderTray System, a set of integrated aerodynamic fairings that improve the aerodynamics of 18-wheeler (Class 8) long-haul trucks, and running the simulations on the supercomputer allowed BMI to go from concept to a design that could be turned over to a manufacturer in 18 months instead of the three and a half years it had anticipated.