Energy and the Environment

OSC enery and the environment research icon

Finding the solutions to significant interrelated global energy and sustainability issues, such as managing wildlife habitats, designing efficient engines and improving air quality, requires computational modeling, simulation and analysis. The Ohio Supercomputer Center provides researchers in these areas with those resources.

Reactor Prototypes

Compared to its centuries-old fossil fuel counterparts, nuclear power is a young player in today’s lineup of energy sources. Still, since the world’s first nuclear power plant became operational in 1954, there have been three marked advancement periods, or generations, of nuclear technology. Each new generation has improved upon the current safety and performance of the previous generation.

Carbon Injection

The Department of Energy supports pilot projects and basic research that evaluate the feasibility of capturing carbon dioxide created by industrial processes and power plants and injecting it into deep geologic formations for permanent storage, known as geo-sequestration.  This is part of evaluating strategies for reducing atmospheric emissions and mitigating accumulation of greenhouse gasses. 

Disaster Relief

Researchers who normally use high-resolution satellite imagery to study glaciers used their technology to help with disaster relief and longer-term stabilization planning efforts in Nepal.

Mineral Reservoirs

Water, water everywhere, but it’s all locked underground. Wendy Panero, Ph.D., and The Ohio State University Mineral Physics Research Group have found that minerals within the earth’s mantle potentially contain a vast amount of water.


Using the computing power at the Ohio Supercomputer Center, researchers at The Ohio State University are constructing a first-of-its-kind, time-stamped, high-resolution digital surface model of the Greenland Ice Sheet.


A team of field ecologists has concluded that woodland corridors connecting patches of endangered plants not only increase dispersal of seeds from one patch to another, but also create wind conditions that can spread the seeds for much longer distances.


Biofuels, fuels derived from plant materials, have the potential to reduce the United State’s dependency on fossil-based fuels. Brent Sohngen, professor of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics at The Ohio State University, and his colleagues have developed a series of land use and management models that assess, among many issues, the impact of using forests for biofuel.


With more than 120 terawatts of solar power irradiating the earth, photovoltaics offers the promise of essentially limitless energy for powering society. The reality, though, depends on whether the cost of the technology can be made competitive with more traditional carbon-based sources.

Seeking Greener Energy Sources

Simulation of a possible unit cell of monodentate urea adsorption on Ni(1 0 0)

Coal is currently the largest source of electricity generation in the United States, while gasoline and diesel fuel power most vehicles. However, coal, gasoline and diesel fuel are non-renewable resources, and the combustion of these fossil fuels produces various pollutants. As a result, alternative, non-polluting energy sources such as hydrogen are desirable.


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