Since 2008 we have been successfully supplying the Met Office with various supercomputer Free Cooling carbon abatement technologies (“CAT”) & associated infrastructure at their weather forecasting data centre HQ operations based in Exeter, Devon.
Various innovative & efficient CAT systems installed by us since 2008 have saved, and continue to save, the Met Office many hundreds of thousands of £’s savings in reduced operational energy costs whilst simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint by many thousands of tonnes!
Following the Met Office’s exciting announcement in October 2014 regarding the imminent arrival of their new £97 Million supercomputer capabilities, we were awarded a Framework Agreement for the design & build of chilled water services & various assorted technical infrastructure to serve these latest generation super-computers. The Met Office’s immediate requirement was for us to supply infrastructure for the high profile High Performance Computer (HPC) project with key features including:
- Design & build scope of works, with over 6,000 individual system components required;
- In-built future-proofing of the Met Office free cooling to accommodate not only current but future generation super-computers;
- A condensed, aggressive 3 month timescale with a working window of only 71 working days on site for the Pipex px® installation team, to a finish “deadline” of no later than 28th February 2015;
- Close scrutiny by the Met Office Main Board Directors & UK Government stakeholders;
- Extensive “on the go” technical design & procurement change management flexibility;
- Reducing the Met Office Free Cooling running costs via extensive £ value engineering assessments, unique designs and technical/materials innovations.
A Fiber Glass Systems Project Manager was based on the Met Office site and integrated within the Met Office team to ensure smooth communication & coordination, mitigating project risk and further fostering positive, collaborative and seamlessly integrated teamwork in ensuring the mutual “deadline” goal was achieved.
Our advanced HDPE pipework design and materials will significantly enhance system flowrates and in doing so reduce electrical pump costs, this feature alone is forecast to provide the Met Office with an annual saving of approx. £8,500 or £168,000 in current terms for the 20 year proposed service life.
As predicted, the challenging deadline was no match for the Met Office / Fiber Glass Systems collaboration and on the 26th & 27th February 2015, hydro testing of each individual section was successfully performed and duly certified by the Met Office.
Representatives from both companies were on site to celebrate the occasion including, our VP General Manager Mr Tom Smith, the Met Office Head of Technical Services – Mr Geoff Hooper and various members of our installation team.
The new supercomputer will reinforce both the Met Office & the UK’s position as a world leader in weather and climate prediction, and enable experts to predict disruptive weather events such as flooding, strong winds, fog and heavy snowfall more effectively.
Once fully installed at the Met Office site and at Exeter Science Park, the computer will be one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world and able to perform more than 16,000 trillion calculations per second, and at 14 tonnes, will weigh the equivalent of a double decker buses. It will be 13 times more powerful than the current system and will have 120,000 times more memory than a top-end smartphone. All served by our designed & built system infrastructure.
Phase one of the supercomputer is due to be operational in September 2015 with the system expected to reach full capacity and be fully operational in August 2016.